Samsung Galaxy Fold specs: Samsung’s foldable is formidable

Samsung finally gave us a good look at the Galaxy Fold, its first foldable smartphone. This bendy device is an entirely new form factor that opens and closes like a book. A screen on the outside lets you use the Galaxy Fold like a phone, and a larger screen on the inside lets you use it like a tablet. It costs crazy lots of dollars, but just might have the “wow” factor to back up Samsung’s lofty claims. What’s it packing? Find the full list of Samsung Galaxy Fold specs below:

Samsung Galaxy Fold specs

  Samsung Galaxy Fold
Cover Display 4.6-inch HD+ Super AMOLED
21:9 aspect ratio
Main Display 7.3-inch QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED
4.2:3 aspect ratio
Processor 7nm 64-bit octa-core SoC
RAM 12GB (LPDDR4x)
Storage 512GB (UFS3.0)
Cameras Cover camera: 10MP selfie camera, ƒ2.2 aperture

Rear triple cameras:
16MP ultra-wide camera, ƒ2.2 aperture
12MP wide-angle camera, Dual Pixel autofocus, OIS, ƒ1.5/ƒ2.4 apertures
12MP telephoto camera, PDAF, OIS, ƒ2.4, 2X optical zoom

Front dual cameras:
10MP selfie camera, ƒ2.2 aperture
8MP RGB depth camera, ƒ1.9 aperture

Battery 4,380mAh
Fast charging compatible on wired and wireless
Wired charging compatible with QC2.0 and AFC
WPC and PMA wireless charging
Software Android 9 Pie
Network 4G LTE
5G NR
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi 6
GPS

The outer display measures 4.6 inches and has Quad HD+ resolution in the 21:9 aspect ratio. That’s fairly tall and narrow. When the Fold unfolds, a 7.3-inch QXGA+ screen is within. It has more of a square shape. More importantly, apps that are running on the outer display will seamlessly transition to the inner display and expand to reveal more content. This is called App Continuity, something that Google added to the Android platform. Samsung is the first device maker to really put it to use.

Samsung says it engineered and tested the hinge, which relies on Samsung’s Infinity Flex display, to open and close hundreds of thousands of times.

A mysterious 7nm, 64-bit, octa-core processor powers the Galaxy Fold. Samsung didn’t say if the chip is from its own Exynos line or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line. The processor is paired with 12GB of memory and 512GB of storage.

This phone has a ridiculous number of cameras: six. One selfie camera on front, three cameras on back (ultra-wide, wide, telephoto), and two cameras facing the user when the Fold is unfolded in tablet mode. The cameras are mostly carried over from the broader Galaxy S10 range.

The Galaxy Fold has to be one of the most expensive phones in the world. It costs a whopping $1,980 for the entry-level 4G LTE version. There’s no word on how much the 5G version will cost. Look for the Galaxy Fold to reach stores on April 26.

Ultrasonic fingerprint scanners: how do they work?

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Fingerprint reader

After a few years lurking in backroom prototypes and inside a few quickly forgotten handsets, ultrasonic fingerprint sensors are ready for prime time. The technology is built into Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus, making the technology almost guaranteed to be securing millions of thumbprints by the year’s end.

In December 2018, Qualcomm announced its 3D ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor. This technology is enabled in devices using the company’s Snapdragon 855 platform as an option if the manufacturer wants to include the extra hardware. Ultrasonic fingerprint technology has its own pros and cons versus traditional capacitive scanners and even other in-display fingerprint designs. Here’s everything you need to know.

How ultrasonic fingerprint scanners work

Qualcomm’s 3D in-display ultrasonic fingerprint scanner is based on what used to be called Sense ID. Rather than existing photographic or capacitive-based fingerprint scanners, ultrasonic fingerprint scanners make use of very high-frequency ultrasonic sound. You can’t hear it, but these waves are used to map out the details of the user’s fingerprint. Fortunately, there’s no need to swipe, just touch the finger to the sensor like the top of the line capacitive fingerprint scanners.

Editor’s Pick

To actually capture the details of a fingerprint, the hardware consists of both a transmitter and a receiver. An ultrasonic pulse is transmitted against the finger that is placed over the scanner. Some of this pulse’s pressure is absorbed and some of it is bounced back to the sensor, depending upon the ridges, pores and other details that are unique to each fingerprint.

There isn’t a microphone listening out for these returning signals. Instead, a sensor that can detect mechanical stress is used to calculate the intensity of the returning ultrasonic pulse at different points on the scanner. Scanning for longer periods of time allows for additional depth data to be captured, resulting in a highly detailed 3D reproduction of the scanned fingerprint.

Qualcomm notes that there’s about a 250-millisecond latency for unlocking, roughly equivalent to capacitive fingerprint scanners. The sensor has about a 1 percent error rate, which again is pretty comparable to other scanners.

Pros of ultrasonic fingerprint vs capacitive scanners

Ultrasonic fingerprint technology works very differently to capacitive fingerprint scanners, which are only able to reproduce 2D images. 3D details are much more difficult to forge or fool than a 2D image, making the ultrasonic system much more secure. It goes without saying that ultrasound is also much more secure than optical fingerprint scanners, which have all but fallen out of favor.

In-display scanners like those inside the OnePlus 6T and Huawei Mate 20 Pro are optical not ultrasonic.

Another added perk of this ultrasonic fingerprint scanner technology is that it allows the fingerprint scanner to still operate through thin materials, such as glass, aluminum, or plastic. The sensor is just 0.15 millimeters thick and can scan through up to 800 µm of glass and up to 650 µm of aluminum. Therefore, the scanner can be embedded under the case or under the display as we’re seeing in the Samsung Galaxy S10, allowing for a more discrete look and thinner bezels.

Because the sensor uses ultrasonic waves, the sensor can also double up as a health tracker that can record heart rate and blood flow. Additionally, there’s less chance of damaging the sensor or exposing it to external tampering, and sweat or moisture on the finger won’t interfere with the scanning process either.

Scanning is just half the process

Editor’s Pick

Of course, there’s still plenty to be done with this fingerprint data and keeping it secure is an equally important part of the system.

As will all biometric security systems, processing and security highly sensitive personal information security are key. Qualcomm’s processors are built with dedicated security tools, including Cryptographic Accelerators, Key Provisioning Security, and a Trusted Execution Environment. This ensures that the processing and storage of sensitive data are kept well away from malicious applications. Other Arm-based processors offer TrustZone hardware isolation for similar levels of protection.

Qualcomm’s setup is also designed to support the Fast Identity Online (FIDO) Alliance protocols, which can be used for online password-less authentication. FIDO does this without transferring any of the confidential fingerprint information to the cloud or through networks that could be compromised.


Ultrasonic fingerprint scanners certainly have a number of advantages of existing capacitive implementations and given the prevalence of Qualcomm processors in mobile products. 3D ultrasonic fingerprint scanners are now ready for prime time and it’s possible that we’ll see many more manufacturers adopt this technology throughout 2019.

The Galaxy S10 has an Instagram mode and Adobe Premiere Rush

Samsung Galaxy S10e front

Samsung announced at its Unpacked event that it is bringing an Instagram mode to the Galaxy S10. This partnership with the social network adds a new shooting mode to the handset’s camera app.

When the Galaxy S10’s camera is launched, users will find the new Instagram mode alongside other options such as panoramic mode and slo-mo. After snapping a photo, customers will be able to edit and customize the image with the social network’s various text and sticker options and then upload it directly to Instagram Stories.

There’s no word yet on if Samsung will bring this feature to older Galaxy handsets.

Samsung also announced that it is working with Adobe to bring an optimized version of Premiere Rush to the flagship lineup. In case you didn’t know, Premiere Rush is a mobile version of the company’s popular video editing software that’s made for mobile devices. The app is specifically aimed at creators who want a full suite of editing tools on their phones and tablets.

Editor’s Pick

For now, Adobe Premiere Rush is only available on iOS. Samsung stated that the app should be coming to the Galaxy S10 later this year. Let’s hope that it isn’t launched as a Galaxy exclusive like Fortnite was.

Learn more about the entire Samsung Galaxy S10 lineup here.

RFID blocking wallets – what are they, and should you get one?

Lowcards

Even in this age of Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, where you can use virtual payments to purchase items in real stores and restaurants with your smartphone, the “old fashioned” credit card and debit card isn’t going away anytime soon. With that said, many people who use them are afraid that the payment information that’s on those cards could be lifted by hackers, even if they remain inside a wallet.

That fear includes the newer credit and debit cards that have RFID chips inside. That’s why some folks who use those kinds of cards are buying RFID blocking wallets, which are supposed to keep hackers from taking your payment information. But what is an RFID blocking wallet, and do you even need to get one? That’s what we are going to talk about in this article.

What is an RFID credit/debit card?

RDIF stands for “Radio Frequency Identification”. The hardware inside an RFID-based device is basically a small chip and a radio antenna. RDIF chips are used in a number of products and devices. For example, you can tag luggage with an RFID chip so you can track it and never have to worry about losing it during a flight. RFID chips are also used to track and identify livestock animals and even pets.

In the case of an RFID credit and debit card, the chip contains your payment information, and you can simply touch the card to a compatible reader to pay for items, rather than swiping a card with a magnetic strip or inserting the card with another chip.

What is an RFID blocking wallet?

There are many concerns that hackers could use devices to intercept the radio signal that is generated by an RFID credit or debit card and lift your payment info from that card, even if it is in your wallet. If you buy an RFID blocking wallet, it should block any radio waves generated by your RFID card, and thus you should be safe from any hacking attempts.

Do you need an RFID wallet?

The short answer to this question, in our opinion, is “Maybe”. While it’s true that the vast majority of RFID chips in credit cards have not been skimmed by radio hackers, it has been reported out in the wild by a few people. Therefore, getting an effective RFID blocking wallet should give you an extra amount of security, as well as some peace of mind. In other words, while the odds of being hacked aren’t ultra-high it doesn’t hurt to be safe, rather than sorry later.

Best RFID blocking wallets

Here’s a look at the best RFID blocking wallets you can buy at the moment, and as you will see there’s quite a variety to choose from; from very traditional wallets to high-tech products to keep your credit cards safe.

Alpine Swiss Men’s RFID Wallet

Here’s a very traditional men’s wallet from Alpine Swiss, with slots that will hold up to 10 credit and debit cards, plus an ID window slot. According to the company, this RFID wallet will shield them, while also allowing other cards that use different frequencies, such as ID badges, hotel cards, and some transit cards, to be used while still inside the wallet. The leather material comes in three colors (black, gray and brown) and its available on Amazon for $14.99.

Roco Aluminum Money Clip RFID Wallet

If you are the sort of person who prefers a money clip-style wallet to store your cash and cards, check out this sleek looking product from Roco. This minimalist design can keep your RFID credit cards safe from hackers thanks to its aluminum material. Even with its slim design, you could hold as many as 20 credit cards inside if you really wanted to. You also have your choice of several different colors and designs for this money clip. It’s available on Amazon for $14.95.

Slimfold RFID Wallet

This RFID wallet comes from SlimFold, and it’s a pretty cool product for more than just its radio blocking features. It’s made of a special material that the company calls Soft Shell and it’s supposed to be just 0.55mm thick, which makes the wallet itself extremely thin. It can still hold up to 8 credit cards, along with cash. Once more,  the material is also waterproof and is extremely durable. All of those features come at a high price; the SlimFold RFID wallet costs between $45 and $48 on Amazon, depending on which color option you pick.

Ranger RFID Wallet

Here’s another pretty slim RFID blocking wallet from Ranger. It’s made of steel which should keep any skimming hacker away from your credit card info. While it’s extremely slim, it can still hold up to 8 credit or debit cards. Finally, this wallet comes with a flat multi-purpose tool, which can come in handy in certain situations. The flat rectangular tool can be used as a bottle opener, a  1/4 tool driver, a wrench that can support several U.S. and metric sizes, and a flathead screwdriver. You can get this RFID wallet from Amazon for $36.

Bryk RFID Wallet

RFID wallet

Our final RFID wallet comes from Bryk, and as you can see its a pure stainless steel product, which makes it look great as well as offering a material that should block RFID signals. It even comes in a very nice case if you want to give it to a family member, co-worker or friend as a gift. It also comes with a latch that should keep your cards and cash secure and safe against physical issues and threats. It can hold up to seven credit or debit cards, and it even comes with a lifetime guarantee. You can get the Bryk RFID blocking wallet in regular stainless steel, or in a black stainless steel color, from Amazon for the price of $15.97.

That’s our look at RFID wallets and why it might be a good idea to get one. Are you thinking about getting such a wallet? Let us know in the comments!

Get a Microsoft certified systems expert education for $49

The Ultimate MCSE Certification Training Bundle

There’s no need to make sacrifices in your career if you’re unhappy in your current job. If you’re interested in trying something new and exciting, we’ve got just the thing for you. 

Prepare to be a well paid and respected Microsoft certified systems expert with the Ultimate MCSE Certification Training Bundle, offered now for just $49.

Prepare for a career as a certified IT expert.

This package includes lifetime access to four courses that will prepare you for a career as a certified IT expert. Upon completion, you’d be qualified for a wide range of positions in an ever more demanding field.

Even better, the training in this package can be easily understood by anyone. Even if you have no experience with computers, you can prepare for a new, high-paying career. If you do work in the field already, this is an inexpensive opportunity to upgrade your education.

Here’s what you get:

  • Over $1,190 worth of elite training for less than $50
  • Lifetime access to four courses and over 60 hours of high-quality content
  • Preparation to become a successful Microsoft certified solutions expert
  • Ability to learn from anywhere, at any time, and at your own pace

Build a technical foundation with the Ultimate MCSE Certification Training Bundle, now for just $49.

The AAPicks team writes about things we think you’ll like, and we may see a share of revenue from any purchases made through affiliate links. To see all our hottest deals, head over to the AAPICKS HUB.

The Meross smart garage door opener gives you more control for just $38

Smarter garages for everyone.

The Meross MSG100 Smart Wi-Fi app-controlled garage door opener is down to $37.99 on Amazon thanks to the coupon code 3TFQVDKH and a $10 off on-page coupon. Be sure to use both because they stack. The deal is sold by Meross Direct, too.

The Meross MSG100 is a smart garage door opener that was originally crowdfunded back in November 2018 on Indiegogo. It adds remote and voice control easily to your existing garage door opener and doesn’t require any extra hub or anything like that. It’s compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and you can use the Meross app to turn your phone into a garage door remote control.

You can get notifications that let you know whether the door is opened or closed, overnight notifications that help remind you to close it, and more. It comes with strong adhesive that you use to install it, making the entire set up process quick and painless.

Users give it 4.1 stars based on 30 reviews.

See on Amazon

Razer Phone 2 will get Android Pie starting February 27

A new version of Android means it’s once again time to peer into my crystal ball.

Latest Updates

February 19, 2019 — Razer Phone 2 will get Android Pie starting February 27

Good news Razer Phone 2 owners — Android Pie will soon be headed your way!

According to Razer, Pie will first arrive on unlocked Razer Phone 2 devices beginning February 27. From there, all carriers (expect AT&T) will get the update a bit later on March 14.

If you do have a Razer Phone 2 on AT&T, you’ll need to wait until April 4 for the Pie update.

These dates could change at any point between now and then, but they’re definitely something to look forward to.

January 23, 2019 — Nokia releases its Android 9 Pie roadmap

Nokia’s proven to be one of the best OEMs in the business when it comes to pushing out speedy Android updates, and today, the company released its roadmap of Android 9 Pie for all of its latest phones.

In the roadmap, we can see that the Nokia 5 and Nokia 3.1 Plus are the next phones in line to receive the Pie update. According to the company, we can expect the Pie update for these two phones as soon as this week! Following them, the Nokia 6, Nokia 5.1, Nokia 3.1, and Nokia 2.1 will get the Pie treatment in Q1. And, last but not least, Q2 will see Pie released for the Nokia 3 and Nokia 1.

January 4, 2019 — Final Android Pie update rolling out to the Galaxy Note 9 in Germany

Well, that was fast.

Just two days after Samsung revealed that it was pushing the Note 9’s Pie update up by a month, a user in Germany is reporting that they’re already receiving the update as of today.

The update for this particular user weighed in at just 95MB, but that’s because they were already part of the Android Pie beta. If you’re not on the beta, you can expect a much larger file size.

It’ll likely take a while for everyone in Germany to receive the update, and then even longer for the update to make its way to everyone around the globe. When you do get the update, however, it will have the firmware version of N960FXXU2CRLT and should come with the January 2019 security patch.

January 2, 2019 — Samsung pushes up its Android Pie update for the Note 9, Note 8, and others by a month

Samsung’s One UI/Android Pie update is already available for the Galaxy S9 series, and if you have a Note 9, Note 8, or another Samsung-made device, you can expect Pie to arrive a month earlier than expected.

SamMobile recently came across an update roadmap highlighting Samsung’s Pie plans for its other devices, and per the roadmap, Pie is now coming to the Note 9 in January rather than February and to the Note 8 in February instead of March.

Along with those two phones, Samsung’s also moved up the Pie update by a month for the Galaxy J4, J6+, J7 Duo, A8 Star, and Tab S3 9.7.

December 19, 2018 — EMUI 9 now available for the Huawei P20 Pro, Mate 10, and more

At the beginning of November, Huawei announced that EMUI 9.0 (its Android interface that’s based on Pie) would see a global rollout on November 10. That day came and went with nothing to show for, and now over a month later from that original date, it looks like EMUI 9 is finally ready for showtime.

The official EMUI Twitter account shared the above tweet early yesterday morning, announcing that the new software is finally ready for a series of its latest phones.

Per the tweet, you should expect an update to EMUI 9.0/Android Pie for the following phones “very soon”:

  • Huawei Mate 10
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro
  • Huawei Mate 10 Porsche Design
  • Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design
  • Huawei P20
  • Huawe P20 Pro
  • Huawei P20 Lite
  • Honor Play
  • Honor View 10
  • Honor 10

November 27, 2018 — Android 9 Pie now rolling out to the Nokia 7.1

The Nokia 7.1 is one of the best mid-range phones on the market right now, and believe it or not, it’s about to get even better.

Today, Juho Sarvikas (the Chief Product Officer of Nokia’s parent company, HMD Global) announced on Twitter that Android 9 Pie is now rolling out to Nokia 7.1 handsets around the globe.

Sarvikas notes that this is a “phased rollout”, and that “some markets with longer technical approval cycles will follow as soon as possible.”

November 20, 2018 — Asus ZenFone 5 series will get Android Pie in early 2019

Asus’s big Android offering this year was its ZenFone 5 series of handsets, and today, the company confirmed that all three of the different models will be updated to Android 9 Pie in early 2019.

The regular ZenFone 5 is currently scheduled for a Pie update in early Q1 whereas the ZenFone 5Z and ZenFone 5Q will be updated by the end of January.

You’ll be able to download Pie via an other-the-air update when it’s available for your phone.

November 18, 2018 — Motorola One and One Power receive Android Pie update in some markets

The Motorola One and One Power have been out in most markets for months — and the Motorola One arrived in the US earlier this month — and Motorola promised that these phones would not only see Android Pie but Android Q. Over 3 months after the release of Android Pie, the latest Android version is beginning to arrive on both models.

The update for the Motorola One Power started rolling out in India on Friday, and while its changelog isn’t very long, it does include the upgrade to Android Pie, the November security update, some improvements to the camera and a new “Dual VoLTE” feature. The Android Pie update has also started hitting the regular Motorola One for some users in Mexico today, but an official change log hasn’t been posted yet.

While these the Motorola One and One Power do have some minute regional build differences, the beauty of Android One and its rules about minimal changes to the system mean that the update for the rest of the world shouldn’t be far behind these initial rollouts.

November 6, 2018 — EMUI 9.0 will begin its global rollout on November 10

EMUI 9.0 is Huawei’s custom Android skin that’s based on Android 9 Pie, and according to a post from the company on Chinese social network Weibo, the update will begin rolling out to select Huawei and Honor phones starting on November 10.

Once November 10 rolls around, the following phones will start to receive EMUI 9.0 around the world:

  • Huawei Mate 10
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro
  • Huawei Mate 10 Porsche Design
  • Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design
  • Huawei P20
  • Huawei P20 Pro
  • Honor 10
  • Honor View 10
  • Honor Play

In addition to the regular Pie goodies, EMUI 9.0 also comes with improved smoothness/responsiveness and a GPU Turbo 2.0 mode that delivers increased performance when playing games.

October 17, 2018 — Xperia XZ Premium, XZ1, and XZ1 Compact getting Android 9 Pie on Oct 26

Earlier in the month, Sony began rolling out Android 9 Pie to the XZ2 and XZ2 Compact. Now, we have official dates for when Pie will make its way to the company’s other handsets.

Starting first with the Xperia XZ Premium, XZ1, and XZ1 Compact, these phones will receive their update on October 26. The XZ2 Premium will follow them on November 7, and if you have an Xperia XA2, XA2 Ultra, or XA2 Plus, you can expect Pie to land on March 4, 2019.

October 12, 2018 — Android 9 Pie rolling out to Sony Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact

On October 12, reports started coming in to show that Pie is making its way to Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact handsets. The update changes the build number from 51.1.A.11.51 to 52.0.A.3.27 on both phones and weighs in at around 1.059 GB. In addition to the usual Pie goodies, there’s also a new camera app and the October 2018 security patch.

The full roundup

Did you hear? Android Pie is a thing now. And we know that everyone will want it and want it as soon as possible. That’s how it works and that’s how we are wired. We want updates, we want them to be spectacular and we want them right now.

The reality of the situation is a bit different. Most phones made in the last 18 months will see Android Pie, but some of them will only get updated when we see the first developer preview for Android Q (Quince Jelly or gtfo, Google!) come along. It’s a lot easier for manufacturers to update their phones to a newer version, but it’s still not any better. That’s another article for another time, though. This one is where I guess which phones will get updated sometime in the next 12 months.

Predicting anything Android-related is 10% science and 90% interpretation.

It’s not as easy as you think and many sudsy cold beverages worth of thought goes into my guesses each and every year. About one-third of them are no-brainers, but some of the others are basically the same odds as a coin flip. It seems like manufacturers only care about a few models that get a lot of press time. But I do have to toot my own hat (or something) and say I have a pretty good track record. Luck or skill? You decide. (It’s totally skill.)

Let’s break it down by the major manufacturers of the phones we love and make a few predictions. Remeber, these are just predictions and not any official word on anything from any company unless otherwise noted.

Still waiting for Oreo? Check to see whether your phone will be upgraded!

Google

I always start with Google because it’s easy and I’ll get it right every time. That’s what I want at the top of the page. I say it’s easy because Google has already told us which phones get updated and which won’t.

And that’s it. Prior to the Pixel, Google promised two years of full support and three years of security updates for phones they sell under their own brand. The Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X are just about three years old. Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu, Adios, Good Bye. They were great phones.

More: It’s time to say goodbye to the Nexus program for good

Android Beta Program Partners

For the first time ever other companies have joined Google in supporting the Android Beta Program. When it was started for Android Pie (then known simply as P) the following phones joined Google’s Pixel and Pixel 2 family in supporting it:

  • Sony Xperia XZ2
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S
  • Nokia 7 Plus
  • Oppo R15 Pro
  • Vivo X21
  • OnePlus 6
  • Essential PH‑1

That means that every one of these phones should see a full-on update to Android Pie in the very near future. In fact, the Essential PH-1 is saw its update at the same time the Pixel and Pixel 2 did.

Samsung

Samsung makes more models of a single flagship line like the Galaxy S each year than Google has made in total, but it’s also pretty easy to know which phones Samsung will update because they’re predictable. Samsung offers four “premium” models each year. like 2018’s Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, the Galaxy S9 Active that we all know is coming, and the Galaxy Note 9. Even when Samsung sold 15 different models of the Galaxy S6, they were all treated the same when it came to expecting an update.

The Galaxy S9 and S9+ are already receiving the official Pie update, and as of January 4, 2019, Pie is also starting to make its way to Note 9 users in Germany.

Here’s the full schedule.

  • Galaxy S9/S9+ — January
  • Galaxy Note 9 — January
  • Galaxy Note 8 — February
  • Galaxy S8/S8+ — March
  • Galaxy A6/A6+ — April
  • Galaxy A7 (2018) — April
  • Galaxy A8 (2018)/A8+ (2018)/A8 Star — April
  • Galaxy A9 2018 — April
  • Galaxy J2 2018/J2 Core — April
  • Galaxy J4 — April
  • Galaxy J6+ — April
  • Galaxy On7 — April
  • Galaxy Tab S4 10.5 — April
  • Galaxy J4+ — May
  • Galaxy J6 — May
  • Galaxy J7 (2017)/J7 Duo/J7 Neo — July
  • Galaxy Tab S3 9.7 — August
  • Galaxy Tab A 2017 — October
  • Galaxy Tab A 10.5 — October

LG

LG has always been a wildcard when I write this post every year. Like Samsung, there are a few “important” models that get all the press coverage and plenty of other more inexpensive models that most of us aren’t talking about.

LG also mentioned some streamlining in the release cycle, which hopefully gives the development teams time to get an update out the door and have it be a good update.

  • The LG G7 ThinQ will be updated to Android Pie.
  • The LG V30 (including the V30S or whatever models we have seen or will see) will be updated to Android Pie.
  • The LG V20 will be updated to Android Pie.
  • The LG G6 will see Android Pie.

Older models like the G5 and V10 are done seeing any attention and won’t see any updates. LG makes a handful of phones that aren’t quite flagship material, and we know it is willing to spend the time and money on updating some of them even if your carrier isn’t and you never see it. That means nothing is a given.

I also think LG consolidating things and releasing phones when they think it’s time for a new model rather than by looking at a calendar will make a difference here and lead to longer support.

Huawei

Huawei is tough to read. It hasn’t abandoned the Asian way of doing smartphones like LG and Samsung have for their U.S. divisions and sometimes that means the things the company does can be puzzling to those of us used to the Western way of thinking. Just when I think I have figured out exactly which phones are the company’s flagship models that will get the lion’s share of time and money spent, they change it all up. That’s a good thing.

Something made Huawei change the way it redistributes and maintains phones running the EMUI operating system (Huawei’s version of Android) in 2017 and I think that’s going to be reflected when it comes to Android P updates.

Per an update from the company on December 18, the following phones are now being updated to EMUI 9.0/Pie around the world:

  • Huawei Mate 10
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro
  • Huawei Mate 10 Porsche Design
  • Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design
  • Huawei P20
  • Huawei P20 Pro
  • Honor 10
  • Honor View 10
  • Honor Play

Motorola

Motorola had a weird 2017. That’s putting it mildly. They released like 100 phones in the Americas and Western Europe (Editor’s note: it was actually 9) and they ranged from the surprisingly great $100 Moto E4 to the Moto X4, the first of hopefully many non-Google phones you can use on Project Fi, and all the Z and Force you can handle in between.. And they did it without compromising the G series which has been a company staple for years from the smartphone division.

Moto phones under Lenovo are slowly becoming like the Thinkpad — quietly chugging along in the background doing their thing. And doing it well.

On August 15, Motorola published a blog post outlining the handsets that’ll receive the official Pie update starting this fall. They include:

  • Moto Z3
  • Moto Z3 Play
  • Moto Z2 Force
  • Moto Z2 Play
  • Moto X4
  • Moto G6 Plus
  • Moto G6
  • Moto G6 Play

While that’s a strong list, the notable omissions include the Moto E5, E5 Plus, and E5 Play.

OnePlus

OnePlus is on the verge of becoming more than just a niche brand. But it won’t forget where its early success came from — providing fast updates because its customers wanted them. And just because it is never as fast as we wanted doesn’t mean it wasn’t as fast as possible. Sometimes, too fast even …

Here’s the list of phones OnePlus is going to update to Android P.

  • OnePlus 3
  • OnePlus 3T
  • OnePlus 5
  • OnePlus 5T
  • OnePlus 6

Nokia

Nokia seems to understand that a substantial portion of its own customer base wants fast updates. Like OnePlus, they should listen to their current customers while trying to find new ones if they are to be successful. Here’s a list of phones expected to see Android Pie from Nokia.

  • Nokia 3
  • Nokia 5
  • Nokia 6
  • Nokia 6.1
  • Nokia 7 Plus
  • Nokia 8
  • Nokia 8 Sirocco

On November 27, it was confirmed that Android Pie is officially rolling out to the Nokia 7.1 as well.

HTC

Disappointing sales have left the future of HTC’s smartphone business in uncertainty, but assuming the company doesn’t go under in the next few months, it’s announced that it’ll be updating four of its smartphones to Android 9 Pie. The list is as follows:

  • HTC U12+
  • HTC U11
  • HTC U11+
  • HTC U11 Life (Android One version)

Annnnddd…that’s it.

HTC says that it’ll release timeframes for its Pie updates “in due course”, and as those announcements are made, we’ll update this article accordingly.

Sony

Sony announced its Pie update plans on August 16, 2018, and as expected, the phones that’ll be the first to get the new software treatment are the company’s high-end flagships. So far, the following phones have been confirmed to get an Android Pie update.

  • Sony Xperia XZ2
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
  • Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact
  • Sony Xperia XA2
  • Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra
  • Sony Xperia XA2 Plus

On October 12, reports started coming in to show that Pie is making its way to Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact handsets. The update changes the build number from 51.1.A.11.51 to 52.0.A.3.27 on both phones and weighs in at around 1.059 GB. In addition to the usual Pie goodies, there’s also a new camera app and the October 2018 security patch.

But wait, there’s more!

The Xperia XZ Premium, XZ1, and XZ1 Compact will all receive their update on October 26. The XZ2 Premium will follow them on November 7, and if you have an Xperia XA2, XA2 Ultra, or XA2 Plus, you can expect Pie to land on March 4, 2019.

Must mentions

These may be the companies we’re most familiar with in the west that sell Android phones, but they aren’t the only companies doing it. Out of the literally hundreds of models available, a few stand out and need mentioning.

  • Any phone running the Android Go version will probably see an update once Google gets Pie optimized for the meager specs these devices have.
  • The BlackBerry KEYone probably won’t be upgraded to Android Pie, but we know the KEY2 will be.
  • Someone at XDA will update their Nexus One to Android Pie and I am going to do my best to get Google to send that person a brand new Pixel 3 NotchXL.

Like mentioned earlier, these are just educated guesses at this point. but one thing I know for certain is that no matter what the phone, any updates will feel like they took too long to make it into our hands. That’s just how we’re wired.

Razer Phone 2 will get Android Pie starting February 27

A new version of Android means it’s once again time to peer into my crystal ball.

Latest Updates

February 19, 2019 — Razer Phone 2 will get Android Pie starting February 27

Good news Razer Phone 2 owners — Android Pie will soon be headed your way!

According to Razer, Pie will first arrive on unlocked Razer Phone 2 devices beginning February 27. From there, all carriers (expect AT&T) will get the update a bit later on March 14.

If you do have a Razer Phone 2 on AT&T, you’ll need to wait until April 4 for the Pie update.

These dates could change at any point between now and then, but they’re definitely something to look forward to.

January 23, 2019 — Nokia releases its Android 9 Pie roadmap

Nokia’s proven to be one of the best OEMs in the business when it comes to pushing out speedy Android updates, and today, the company released its roadmap of Android 9 Pie for all of its latest phones.

In the roadmap, we can see that the Nokia 5 and Nokia 3.1 Plus are the next phones in line to receive the Pie update. According to the company, we can expect the Pie update for these two phones as soon as this week! Following them, the Nokia 6, Nokia 5.1, Nokia 3.1, and Nokia 2.1 will get the Pie treatment in Q1. And, last but not least, Q2 will see Pie released for the Nokia 3 and Nokia 1.

January 4, 2019 — Final Android Pie update rolling out to the Galaxy Note 9 in Germany

Well, that was fast.

Just two days after Samsung revealed that it was pushing the Note 9’s Pie update up by a month, a user in Germany is reporting that they’re already receiving the update as of today.

The update for this particular user weighed in at just 95MB, but that’s because they were already part of the Android Pie beta. If you’re not on the beta, you can expect a much larger file size.

It’ll likely take a while for everyone in Germany to receive the update, and then even longer for the update to make its way to everyone around the globe. When you do get the update, however, it will have the firmware version of N960FXXU2CRLT and should come with the January 2019 security patch.

January 2, 2019 — Samsung pushes up its Android Pie update for the Note 9, Note 8, and others by a month

Samsung’s One UI/Android Pie update is already available for the Galaxy S9 series, and if you have a Note 9, Note 8, or another Samsung-made device, you can expect Pie to arrive a month earlier than expected.

SamMobile recently came across an update roadmap highlighting Samsung’s Pie plans for its other devices, and per the roadmap, Pie is now coming to the Note 9 in January rather than February and to the Note 8 in February instead of March.

Along with those two phones, Samsung’s also moved up the Pie update by a month for the Galaxy J4, J6+, J7 Duo, A8 Star, and Tab S3 9.7.

December 19, 2018 — EMUI 9 now available for the Huawei P20 Pro, Mate 10, and more

At the beginning of November, Huawei announced that EMUI 9.0 (its Android interface that’s based on Pie) would see a global rollout on November 10. That day came and went with nothing to show for, and now over a month later from that original date, it looks like EMUI 9 is finally ready for showtime.

The official EMUI Twitter account shared the above tweet early yesterday morning, announcing that the new software is finally ready for a series of its latest phones.

Per the tweet, you should expect an update to EMUI 9.0/Android Pie for the following phones “very soon”:

  • Huawei Mate 10
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro
  • Huawei Mate 10 Porsche Design
  • Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design
  • Huawei P20
  • Huawe P20 Pro
  • Huawei P20 Lite
  • Honor Play
  • Honor View 10
  • Honor 10

November 27, 2018 — Android 9 Pie now rolling out to the Nokia 7.1

The Nokia 7.1 is one of the best mid-range phones on the market right now, and believe it or not, it’s about to get even better.

Today, Juho Sarvikas (the Chief Product Officer of Nokia’s parent company, HMD Global) announced on Twitter that Android 9 Pie is now rolling out to Nokia 7.1 handsets around the globe.

Sarvikas notes that this is a “phased rollout”, and that “some markets with longer technical approval cycles will follow as soon as possible.”

November 20, 2018 — Asus ZenFone 5 series will get Android Pie in early 2019

Asus’s big Android offering this year was its ZenFone 5 series of handsets, and today, the company confirmed that all three of the different models will be updated to Android 9 Pie in early 2019.

The regular ZenFone 5 is currently scheduled for a Pie update in early Q1 whereas the ZenFone 5Z and ZenFone 5Q will be updated by the end of January.

You’ll be able to download Pie via an other-the-air update when it’s available for your phone.

November 18, 2018 — Motorola One and One Power receive Android Pie update in some markets

The Motorola One and One Power have been out in most markets for months — and the Motorola One arrived in the US earlier this month — and Motorola promised that these phones would not only see Android Pie but Android Q. Over 3 months after the release of Android Pie, the latest Android version is beginning to arrive on both models.

The update for the Motorola One Power started rolling out in India on Friday, and while its changelog isn’t very long, it does include the upgrade to Android Pie, the November security update, some improvements to the camera and a new “Dual VoLTE” feature. The Android Pie update has also started hitting the regular Motorola One for some users in Mexico today, but an official change log hasn’t been posted yet.

While these the Motorola One and One Power do have some minute regional build differences, the beauty of Android One and its rules about minimal changes to the system mean that the update for the rest of the world shouldn’t be far behind these initial rollouts.

November 6, 2018 — EMUI 9.0 will begin its global rollout on November 10

EMUI 9.0 is Huawei’s custom Android skin that’s based on Android 9 Pie, and according to a post from the company on Chinese social network Weibo, the update will begin rolling out to select Huawei and Honor phones starting on November 10.

Once November 10 rolls around, the following phones will start to receive EMUI 9.0 around the world:

  • Huawei Mate 10
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro
  • Huawei Mate 10 Porsche Design
  • Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design
  • Huawei P20
  • Huawei P20 Pro
  • Honor 10
  • Honor View 10
  • Honor Play

In addition to the regular Pie goodies, EMUI 9.0 also comes with improved smoothness/responsiveness and a GPU Turbo 2.0 mode that delivers increased performance when playing games.

October 17, 2018 — Xperia XZ Premium, XZ1, and XZ1 Compact getting Android 9 Pie on Oct 26

Earlier in the month, Sony began rolling out Android 9 Pie to the XZ2 and XZ2 Compact. Now, we have official dates for when Pie will make its way to the company’s other handsets.

Starting first with the Xperia XZ Premium, XZ1, and XZ1 Compact, these phones will receive their update on October 26. The XZ2 Premium will follow them on November 7, and if you have an Xperia XA2, XA2 Ultra, or XA2 Plus, you can expect Pie to land on March 4, 2019.

October 12, 2018 — Android 9 Pie rolling out to Sony Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact

On October 12, reports started coming in to show that Pie is making its way to Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact handsets. The update changes the build number from 51.1.A.11.51 to 52.0.A.3.27 on both phones and weighs in at around 1.059 GB. In addition to the usual Pie goodies, there’s also a new camera app and the October 2018 security patch.

The full roundup

Did you hear? Android Pie is a thing now. And we know that everyone will want it and want it as soon as possible. That’s how it works and that’s how we are wired. We want updates, we want them to be spectacular and we want them right now.

The reality of the situation is a bit different. Most phones made in the last 18 months will see Android Pie, but some of them will only get updated when we see the first developer preview for Android Q (Quince Jelly or gtfo, Google!) come along. It’s a lot easier for manufacturers to update their phones to a newer version, but it’s still not any better. That’s another article for another time, though. This one is where I guess which phones will get updated sometime in the next 12 months.

Predicting anything Android-related is 10% science and 90% interpretation.

It’s not as easy as you think and many sudsy cold beverages worth of thought goes into my guesses each and every year. About one-third of them are no-brainers, but some of the others are basically the same odds as a coin flip. It seems like manufacturers only care about a few models that get a lot of press time. But I do have to toot my own hat (or something) and say I have a pretty good track record. Luck or skill? You decide. (It’s totally skill.)

Let’s break it down by the major manufacturers of the phones we love and make a few predictions. Remeber, these are just predictions and not any official word on anything from any company unless otherwise noted.

Still waiting for Oreo? Check to see whether your phone will be upgraded!

Google

I always start with Google because it’s easy and I’ll get it right every time. That’s what I want at the top of the page. I say it’s easy because Google has already told us which phones get updated and which won’t.

And that’s it. Prior to the Pixel, Google promised two years of full support and three years of security updates for phones they sell under their own brand. The Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X are just about three years old. Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu, Adios, Good Bye. They were great phones.

More: It’s time to say goodbye to the Nexus program for good

Android Beta Program Partners

For the first time ever other companies have joined Google in supporting the Android Beta Program. When it was started for Android Pie (then known simply as P) the following phones joined Google’s Pixel and Pixel 2 family in supporting it:

  • Sony Xperia XZ2
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S
  • Nokia 7 Plus
  • Oppo R15 Pro
  • Vivo X21
  • OnePlus 6
  • Essential PH‑1

That means that every one of these phones should see a full-on update to Android Pie in the very near future. In fact, the Essential PH-1 is saw its update at the same time the Pixel and Pixel 2 did.

Samsung

Samsung makes more models of a single flagship line like the Galaxy S each year than Google has made in total, but it’s also pretty easy to know which phones Samsung will update because they’re predictable. Samsung offers four “premium” models each year. like 2018’s Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, the Galaxy S9 Active that we all know is coming, and the Galaxy Note 9. Even when Samsung sold 15 different models of the Galaxy S6, they were all treated the same when it came to expecting an update.

The Galaxy S9 and S9+ are already receiving the official Pie update, and as of January 4, 2019, Pie is also starting to make its way to Note 9 users in Germany.

Here’s the full schedule.

  • Galaxy S9/S9+ — January
  • Galaxy Note 9 — January
  • Galaxy Note 8 — February
  • Galaxy S8/S8+ — March
  • Galaxy A6/A6+ — April
  • Galaxy A7 (2018) — April
  • Galaxy A8 (2018)/A8+ (2018)/A8 Star — April
  • Galaxy A9 2018 — April
  • Galaxy J2 2018/J2 Core — April
  • Galaxy J4 — April
  • Galaxy J6+ — April
  • Galaxy On7 — April
  • Galaxy Tab S4 10.5 — April
  • Galaxy J4+ — May
  • Galaxy J6 — May
  • Galaxy J7 (2017)/J7 Duo/J7 Neo — July
  • Galaxy Tab S3 9.7 — August
  • Galaxy Tab A 2017 — October
  • Galaxy Tab A 10.5 — October

LG

LG has always been a wildcard when I write this post every year. Like Samsung, there are a few “important” models that get all the press coverage and plenty of other more inexpensive models that most of us aren’t talking about.

LG also mentioned some streamlining in the release cycle, which hopefully gives the development teams time to get an update out the door and have it be a good update.

  • The LG G7 ThinQ will be updated to Android Pie.
  • The LG V30 (including the V30S or whatever models we have seen or will see) will be updated to Android Pie.
  • The LG V20 will be updated to Android Pie.
  • The LG G6 will see Android Pie.

Older models like the G5 and V10 are done seeing any attention and won’t see any updates. LG makes a handful of phones that aren’t quite flagship material, and we know it is willing to spend the time and money on updating some of them even if your carrier isn’t and you never see it. That means nothing is a given.

I also think LG consolidating things and releasing phones when they think it’s time for a new model rather than by looking at a calendar will make a difference here and lead to longer support.

Huawei

Huawei is tough to read. It hasn’t abandoned the Asian way of doing smartphones like LG and Samsung have for their U.S. divisions and sometimes that means the things the company does can be puzzling to those of us used to the Western way of thinking. Just when I think I have figured out exactly which phones are the company’s flagship models that will get the lion’s share of time and money spent, they change it all up. That’s a good thing.

Something made Huawei change the way it redistributes and maintains phones running the EMUI operating system (Huawei’s version of Android) in 2017 and I think that’s going to be reflected when it comes to Android P updates.

Per an update from the company on December 18, the following phones are now being updated to EMUI 9.0/Pie around the world:

  • Huawei Mate 10
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro
  • Huawei Mate 10 Porsche Design
  • Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design
  • Huawei P20
  • Huawei P20 Pro
  • Honor 10
  • Honor View 10
  • Honor Play

Motorola

Motorola had a weird 2017. That’s putting it mildly. They released like 100 phones in the Americas and Western Europe (Editor’s note: it was actually 9) and they ranged from the surprisingly great $100 Moto E4 to the Moto X4, the first of hopefully many non-Google phones you can use on Project Fi, and all the Z and Force you can handle in between.. And they did it without compromising the G series which has been a company staple for years from the smartphone division.

Moto phones under Lenovo are slowly becoming like the Thinkpad — quietly chugging along in the background doing their thing. And doing it well.

On August 15, Motorola published a blog post outlining the handsets that’ll receive the official Pie update starting this fall. They include:

  • Moto Z3
  • Moto Z3 Play
  • Moto Z2 Force
  • Moto Z2 Play
  • Moto X4
  • Moto G6 Plus
  • Moto G6
  • Moto G6 Play

While that’s a strong list, the notable omissions include the Moto E5, E5 Plus, and E5 Play.

OnePlus

OnePlus is on the verge of becoming more than just a niche brand. But it won’t forget where its early success came from — providing fast updates because its customers wanted them. And just because it is never as fast as we wanted doesn’t mean it wasn’t as fast as possible. Sometimes, too fast even …

Here’s the list of phones OnePlus is going to update to Android P.

  • OnePlus 3
  • OnePlus 3T
  • OnePlus 5
  • OnePlus 5T
  • OnePlus 6

Nokia

Nokia seems to understand that a substantial portion of its own customer base wants fast updates. Like OnePlus, they should listen to their current customers while trying to find new ones if they are to be successful. Here’s a list of phones expected to see Android Pie from Nokia.

  • Nokia 3
  • Nokia 5
  • Nokia 6
  • Nokia 6.1
  • Nokia 7 Plus
  • Nokia 8
  • Nokia 8 Sirocco

On November 27, it was confirmed that Android Pie is officially rolling out to the Nokia 7.1 as well.

HTC

Disappointing sales have left the future of HTC’s smartphone business in uncertainty, but assuming the company doesn’t go under in the next few months, it’s announced that it’ll be updating four of its smartphones to Android 9 Pie. The list is as follows:

  • HTC U12+
  • HTC U11
  • HTC U11+
  • HTC U11 Life (Android One version)

Annnnddd…that’s it.

HTC says that it’ll release timeframes for its Pie updates “in due course”, and as those announcements are made, we’ll update this article accordingly.

Sony

Sony announced its Pie update plans on August 16, 2018, and as expected, the phones that’ll be the first to get the new software treatment are the company’s high-end flagships. So far, the following phones have been confirmed to get an Android Pie update.

  • Sony Xperia XZ2
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
  • Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact
  • Sony Xperia XA2
  • Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra
  • Sony Xperia XA2 Plus

On October 12, reports started coming in to show that Pie is making its way to Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact handsets. The update changes the build number from 51.1.A.11.51 to 52.0.A.3.27 on both phones and weighs in at around 1.059 GB. In addition to the usual Pie goodies, there’s also a new camera app and the October 2018 security patch.

But wait, there’s more!

The Xperia XZ Premium, XZ1, and XZ1 Compact will all receive their update on October 26. The XZ2 Premium will follow them on November 7, and if you have an Xperia XA2, XA2 Ultra, or XA2 Plus, you can expect Pie to land on March 4, 2019.

Must mentions

These may be the companies we’re most familiar with in the west that sell Android phones, but they aren’t the only companies doing it. Out of the literally hundreds of models available, a few stand out and need mentioning.

  • Any phone running the Android Go version will probably see an update once Google gets Pie optimized for the meager specs these devices have.
  • The BlackBerry KEYone probably won’t be upgraded to Android Pie, but we know the KEY2 will be.
  • Someone at XDA will update their Nexus One to Android Pie and I am going to do my best to get Google to send that person a brand new Pixel 3 NotchXL.

Like mentioned earlier, these are just educated guesses at this point. but one thing I know for certain is that no matter what the phone, any updates will feel like they took too long to make it into our hands. That’s just how we’re wired.

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Best Google Assistant devices for your home: Our top 10

Google Assistant launched less than three years ago, but in that short period of time, the machine learning-based digital helper has expanded its reach from smartphones and smartwatches to speakers and many other Google Assistant devices for the home. Indeed, at CES 2019, it was announced that Google Assistant devices were expected to reach over 1 billion products by the end of January 2019.

Google sells its own smart speakers with Google Assistant support under the Google Home brand, and there are many other third-party smart speaker products you can buy that have Google Assistant support as well. However, there are many, many other Google Assistant devices you can check out. We have a quick list of the best Google Assistant devices you can get for your home. Some of them have the digital helper built-in, while others need a Google Home or another Google Assistant compatible smart speaker to use its voice commands. 

Best Google Assistant compatible devices (built-in)

NVIDIA Shield TV

Android TV is Google’s smart television operating system, and it’s actually one of the best you can use. If you don’t have a smart TV, or if you have one and are not happy with its app selections or features, you should check out the NVIDIA Shield TV set-top box. It will add Android TV support to any big screen television, and it also supports Google Assistant natively. That means you can use your voice (if you also have the Shield controller) to command the Shield TV to launch apps like Netflix, YouTube and more. You can play, pause or reverse videos on those services with your voice, and you can learn more about the shows you are watching as well with voice commands. The set-top box also lets you control other Google Assistant compatible devices as well from the Shield TV.

NVIDIA also continues to update the Shield TV with new features like support for HDR video, and most importantly support for NVIDA’s GeForce Now game streaming service which allows you to play over 400 PC games from Valve’s Steam service on the Shield TV device.

Sony TVs with Android TV and Google Assistant

Smart home gadgets

Android TV has also been directly installed on a number of smart TVs. Sony’s lineup of big-screen TVs are the biggest brand with Android TV out of the box, and that means they also have Google Assistant built in the TVs. As with the NVIDIA Shield TV box, you can command Sony’s smart TV’s with your voice to launch apps, look up information and much more.

Smart TVs with Android TV and Google Assistant installed are also available from other companies, including Sharp and Hisense.

Acer Chromebook Spin 13

Many Chromebooks come with Google Assistant support out of the box. That includes the Acer Chromebook Spin 13, which is our current pick for the best Chromebook you can buy. You can use voice commands to bring up information and more on this Chromebook. It has a 13.5-inch, 13.5-inch, 2,256 x 1,504 IPS touchscreen display with a 3:2 aspect ratio that rotates with its 360-degree hinge. This Chromebook also comes with its own stylus, which docks in the base of the Chromebook. You can get this Chromebook for as low as $ 749.99 with an Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 64GB onboard storage.

Best Google Assistant compatible devices (add-0n)

Nest Thermostat, Protect and Hello

Smart home gadgets

One of the best Google Assistant devices is the Nest Thermostat. Nest was originally set up as a separate subsidiary to Google’s parent company Alphabet, but more recently the Nest team was integrated into Google’s hardware unit. The Nest thermostat is designed to work with Google Assistant, via your Android phone or your Google Home speaker. Nest offers a number of advantages over the traditional thermostat including adjusting the temperature when you’re away from the house and learning your household habits to schedule changes appropriately. It responds to remote control from the Google Home or the Nest app.

Nest also has a little brother, the Nest Thermostat E, which brings a lot of the same functionality, but at a lower price point. Plus, most utility companies offer rebates on the equipment, bringing your costs down even lower.

Of course, if you’d like a different smart thermostat, we have a list of the best smart thermostats to help you with your decision. Think the process will be too hard? Installing a Nest is easier than you might think

Smart home gadgets

Continuing on with the Nest line of products, the division also releases smoke and CO alarms until the Nest Protect brand that work with Google Assistant gadgets. Normally, we wouldn’t give much thought to a smoke or CO detector. Chances are you already have both of these in your home. But adding a little bit of intelligence to this tech is not a bad idea. For example, a Nest Protect can link to your Nest Thermostat, via Google Assistant, and automatically cut off your heating equipment in the event of a fire or CO leak. It’s this kind of intelligence that can help mitigate a disaster.

Smart home gadgets

One of the more recent Nest products is a smart doorbell, the Nest Hello, Once you install it, it allows you to see who’s at the door and even communicate with them with your smartphone or tablet. Some models will even recognize frequent visitors and can announce them with your Google Home speaker.

Samsung SmartThings Hub V3

Samsung's SmartThings hub version 3 on Amazon. Amazon

Many of the Google Assistant devices made for the smart home, but not all, do require a hub device to work. Samsung’s SmartThings Hub is perhaps the best of these kinds of products, and the company recently released the third generation model of the SmartThings Hub.

The hub will allow you to control a large number of Google Assistant compatible products, including smart bulbs, cameras, locks, and much more. Samsung also sells a number of SmartThings add-on products to help extend your smart home experiences, including motions sensors for lights and cameras, smart plugs for lights and more. While this new version of the hub lacks a battery backup as the second generation version did, it’s the current product to beat for people who want to link up their Google Assistant devices. 

Nest x Yale smart lock

An official image of the Nest x Yale Smart Lock. Nest

In 2018, Nest teamed up with the connected smart lock company Yale in a partnership that allows Yale smart locks to work with Google Assistant devices like Google Home. The Yale x Nest smart lock will allow you to open or lock down doors with the Yale product installed just with your voice. You can also use voice commands to find out if you left the door unlocked or lock. You can also give anyone who you want to enter the house their own passcode, and you can monitor who has been entering or leaving your home.

LIFX Smart LED Light Bulb

Smart home gadgets

Smart bulbs in your home can be quite convenient. Controlling lights while you’re away is a good way to make people think you’re home. Remotely turning on lights when you’re on your way home is a great way to avoid walking into a dark house. LIFX bulbs are nice because they do not require any kind of hub or controller to work; they just need to connect to a Google Home speaker to enable its Google Assistant devices support.

In addition, these smart bulbs also connect to Nest products. For example, if the Nest Protect smoke and CO alarm sensors detect a fire, LIFX bulbs will pulse red and then turn themselves on to full brightness, illuminating your way to get out of the house. Nest cameras can detect that the house is empty, and trigger LIFX bulbs to switch to a dimmer/lower power mode to help conserve electricity. It’s all of these integrations that make a smart home really start to come together.

Phillips hue lighting starter kit

Smart home gadgets

 

Phillips is one of the bigger names in smart lighting and its Hue lineup of smart bulbs are highly popular. While they are also Google Assistant compatible, the Phillips Hue bulbs fo require a Hub Bridge to connect the bulbs to your Google Home and Nest devices. They can also help to save power when you’re away from home.

Smart home gadgets Amazon

If you have smart home gadgets — or just lights — that you just want to turn on or off, TP Link has a smart plug you can use with your phone or with Google Assistant. Best of all, you won’t need an extra hub like the Samsung SmartThings device for this smart plug to work. The included TP Link app allows you to schedule time for devices that are plugged into the smart plug. You can also set an away mode which turns lights or appliances on at random for some extra security. The compact design is so small it doesn’t block adjacent outlets.

10. Chamberlain Smart Garage Hub

Google Assistant devices Amazon

Once upon a time, you had to have a button attached to your car’s visor to make your garage door open and close. Those days are gone now, as garage doors have joined the smart home revolution. The Chamberlain Smart Garage Hub connects to your existing opener and allows you to check the status of your garage door, and even raise or lower the door as needed. You can even receive alerts when your garage door opens and closes. You can control your garage door with Google Home as a Google Assistant device, but that requires a $1/mo or $10/year subscription.

 

Extra – Samsung Smart TVs (later in 2019)

The Samsung smart TV with iTunes. Samsung

In addition to the many Android TV smart televisions and set-top boxes that are available with Google Assistant built-in, Samsung recently announced that its 2019 lineup of smart TVs would have limited support for Google Assistant.  If you also own a Google Home or another Google Assistant device, you will be able to use voice commands to turn the new Samsung smart TVs on or off, along with changing channels or the input source. You can also turn the volume up and down with a Google Assistant voice command, or launch specific smart TV apps. Look for those Samsung smart TVs to be released later in 2019.

Google Assistant devices for the home – wrap up

So that’s it for our favorite smart home gadgets that are also Google Assistant devices. However, as we have stated, there are a large number of Google Assistant devices made for smart homes that we have not even touched upon. Which ones would you recommend be put on this list? Let us know in the comments.

‘Reverse search warrants’ for Google data becoming a privacy nightmare

GPS Location Navigation Icon

  • Reverse search warrants are becoming more commonplace.
  • Minnesota, in particular, is using reverse search warrants more and more, which raises questions of public privacy.
  • Reverse search warrants are requests made to Google for sometimes massive amounts of public data to help solve crimes.

In Minnesota, there have been at least 22 so-called “reverse search warrants” granted since August 2018. A new report from MPR News dives deep into the new trend of police requesting reverse search warrants from local judges, and how these warrants could potentially be a huge violation of public privacy.

A normal search warrant requires probable cause and a named suspect for approval. However, reverse search warrants instead ask for data related to the general public in a certain area at a certain time. Using this general data, police look for clues and anomalies and work backward from there, hoping to eventually identify suspects for crimes.

In most cases, reverse search warrants are issued to Google due to that company having the largest database of information related to location data through the smartphones we all carry around with us every day.

In one Minnesota case, in particular, police requested a reverse search warrant related to an in-home invasion and burglary. The judge in charge of the warrant decision took all of 10 minutes to decide to issue the request to Google. Google then provided the police with anonymized smartphone data for the following:

  • Every smartphone used in a six-hour window in several square miles surrounding the neighborhood home.
  • Every smartphone used in a 33-hour window in several square miles surrounding a grocery store owned by the victims, which is in a dense urban area.

MPR News doesn’t disclose how many different data points Google provided police, but judging from the requests it would likely be thousands or possibly even over a hundred thousand data points — meaning thousands and thousands of people.

Google is handing over thousands of smartphone data points to help police officers narrow down suspects.

Using this information, the police got to work trying to pinpoint anomalies in the data. They eventually discovered that one particular smartphone was in the vicinity of the house where the crime was committed around the time it would have started. That smartphone moved away from the house right before the 911 call was made, making the owner of the phone a suspect.

Since the data was all anonymized by Google before giving it to the police, the police then had to obtain another warrant requesting Google to give them the name and related information connected to that smartphone.

As stated at the top of this article, Minnesota police have done this at least 22 times since August.

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It’s easy to see how this is a privacy and civil rights nightmare. In the case of this burglary, the smartphone in question could have been owned by a neighbor who was standing in his own backyard adjacent to the victim’s home. He could have been out there for a bit after hearing a strange noise, then have gone back into his house right before the 911 call was made. In that case, police would have obtained the data of an innocent man and possibly taken him in for questioning based on that data. That would likely end up on a police blotter, further tarnishing that man’s reputation.

That’s just one hypothetical example of how dangerous these methods can be.

MPR News

The MPR News article also mentions that the way police officers ask for these reverse search warrants can be confusing for judges. For example, in the case mentioned above, the police requested the data by giving the judge GPS coordinates instead of a map. When a judge sees nothing but GPS coordinates, they likely won’t have much of an idea of what they mean. But if the judge got to see a map and thus have a good idea of just how wide a net the police were casting, they might have balked. As mentioned earlier, the judge only took 10 minutes to approve the reverse search warrant.

Finally, in the specific home invasion case discussed here, police didn’t even really need the reverse search warrant: without Google’s help, based on vehicle descriptions and a confidential informant, the police narrowed down a list of suspects without using the Google data. However, the Google data will help their case and could help determine if the suspects were part of other crimes in the area.

What do you think? Are reverse search warrants a valuable tool to protect the public, or is this a violation of our privacy? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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