Call Screen starts slowly rolling out the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

  • Google has started rolling out Assistant’s Call Screen feature to the Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL.
  • Call Screen allows Assistant to answer calls on the user’s behalf and record a message for them.
  • It’s available in the U.S. only right now.

It looks like Google has started rolling out Call Screen to the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Android Police was tipped-off about the update yesterday before several others in the comments chimed-in to say they’d received it too.

The feature, which launched with the Pixel 3, allows Google Assistant to answer calls on the user’s behalf. Here, Assistant will ask the caller to explain the reason for the call, and that the message will be recorded and passed on. Pixel owners can customize Assistant’s responses, as well as listen in to the call live and answer if they wish to.

This can be particularly useful for dealing with nuisance phone calls; read more about it here.

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Google has previously said Call Screening would come to the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in November, but it didn’t offer a more precise date. The rollout seems to be underway now, but given the sparse confirmations, it could take another few days (or perhaps weeks) to arrive to all users. It’s a U.S.-only feature for now.

Look out for the functionality on your Pixel 2 soon and let us know in the comments if it’s already with you. For everything else you need to know about how the gen-two Pixel stacks up against the latest model, head to our Google Pixel 2 vs Google Pixel 3 comparison.

Google dev hints Android Q previews could come to more users, sooner

  • A Google developer has hinted that early Android Q builds may reach more users next year thanks to prospective Generic System Image (GSI) developments.
  • The moves could allow any Project Treble-supported device, not just select handsets, to run previews ahead of the software’s full launch.
  • The developer said there may be a way to test Android Q without physically flashing the GSI in future, too.

A Google engineer has hinted that Android Q previews may be available on more devices than ever before ahead of its full-scale release in 2019. The engineer, Hung-ying Tyan of Google’s Project Treble team, made the comments during Android developer summit last week (via XDA Developers).

Hung-ying was holding a talk on Generic System Images (GSIs). A GSI is a pure version of Android based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) code used to test compatibility on Android smartphones. In order to benefit from quick updates via Project Treble, for example, a hardware manufacturer must be able to boot a GSI and ensure it works correctly on their device.

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This is a key part of Project Treble, but it seems Google wants to diversify GSI use cases. Hung-ying said the team is “exploring ways to make future GSI available earlier than the release of next Android version. So you will be able to try out next Android version earlier over GSI.” This, according to Hung-ying, would be mutually beneficial, seeing as more users would get access to the software the team could receive earlier feedback.

What’s more, Hung-ying said that there might be a way to test out GSI, without flashing it, in the future — something which can be a tricky process.

What this would mean for Android fans is that more people could gain access to the early version of Android Q (the upcoming version of Android), sooner. With the Android P Developer Preview, Google allowed Pixel users (and later some other Android device owners) to test the software from March last year ahead of its full release in August. The implication of GSI becoming available earlier is that any Project Treble-equipped phone would be able to install the next Developer Previews — opening them up to many more users.

This is just a possibility for now, but Hung-ying said we should stay tuned for more information in the future. It seems like it could happen.

Having problems with your Google Pixel 3 overheating? You’re not alone

Google Pixel 3 Display

  • Some Google Pixel 3 smartphones are experiencing overheating issues while charging and/or video calling.
  • The problem is affecting both Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, and can cause them to shut down.
  • Google has yet to provide a solution; if the problem affects you, you may need to request a warranty replacement.

Some Google Pixel 3 smartphones are suffering from an overheating problem while charging, according to various reports. Pixel 3 owners have taken to Reddit and the Google product forums to highlight the issue, which seems to affect both the standard Pixel 3 and the larger Pixel 3 XL variant.

The problem appears to occur most frequently when video calling or charging. It’s said to happen whether using the official Google charger or a third-party product.

At some point, the smartphone can heat up to the point where an overheating notification appears, or the handset itself shuts off.

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What’s causing the issue is unclear, yet it’s completely natural for devices to get warm while charging. Similarly, phones can get warm while video calling or video recording at high resolutions. This is not inherently a problem, but if a phone becomes too hot to use or shuts down (like in these cases), then it needs to be addressed.

Smartphone overheating can sometimes be resolved with an over-the-air update, though it may mean reducing the charging speeds or limiting video framerates or resolutions. Google may also replace units under warranty if it deems it a hardware issue.

The Google Pixel 2 has also had similar issues: an ongoing thread (started in February) contains reports from just a week ago that the device is shutting down while charging.

If you’re having similar troubles — with any Google product — you can head to the forums, contact a Google support specialist, or go straight to the hardware warranty center here.

Get ready for the upcoming Android Dev Summit with the official app

  • Google has announced the official app for the upcoming Android Dev Summit.
  • The app presents a schedule of all of the conference’s events and lets you livestream the conference.
  • The app also works as an Instant App, which lets you use the app without fully downloading it onto your device.

With Google’s Android Developer Summit right around the corner, the company has announced the official app for the upcoming developer get-together.

The app lets you look through the conference schedule and all of the keynotes, sessions, and lightning talks that will take place over the two days. You can also save those events to your own calendar, they’re color-coded based on type (like breaks or sessions).

You can also stream the event from the app, though you can also stream it from the website if the app does not fit your needs.

As a nice bonus, the Android Dev Summit app also doubles as an Instant App. This lets you try out the app without needing to fully download it on your device. That is why you will see the “Open App” option when you get to the Android Dev Summit app on the Play Store.

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As for the event itself, the Android Dev Summit is expected to bring together Android developers from various walks of life for two days of technical sessions with Google’s engineering team. There is even a keynote speech, which vice president of Android engineering Dave Burke and group product manager for Google Search and Ads Stephanie Cuthbertson hosted during 2017’s Android Dev Summit.

The discussions during this year’s Android Dev Summit will likely focus on the nitty-gritty of Android and its SDK tools. That compares drastically to Google I/O, which typically delivers more consumer-friendly news and developments.

You can download the Android Dev Summit 2018 app at the link below. You can also follow the developments on Twitter. The Android Dev Summit will be held in the Computer History Museum in California and go from November 7 through November 8.

Deal: Halloween movies and audiobooks from $4.99 on Google Play

Google Play Halloween deals Google Play

Halloween is creeping up on us and, to get you in the mood for it, Google has discounted some of the scariest movies and audiobooks on Google Play. There are far too many titles on offer to list them all, but here are a few that stand out.  

Movies discounted for Halloween

There’s a variety of classic and modern movies available with prices starting at $4.99 and going up to $9.99. You’ll be able to rewatch these movie time and again, but if you just want to see it once you might be better off renting it if it’s available (it will be cheaper).

Some of the highlights include:

  • Get Out: ($9.99)
  • The Shining: ($4.99)
  • The Silence of the Lambs ($4.99)
  • Alien ($7.99)
  • Black Swan ($7.99)
  • American Psycho ($5.99)

To take a look at any of the movies listed above, or to see the full list, click the button below.

Audiobooks discounted for Halloween

Like the movies, all the audiobooks in the offer are under $10 with the cheapest ones coming in at $4.99. As you may expect, there are a few Stephen King titles in the list, as well as some classics like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Some examples include:

  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley ($5.99)
  • The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule ($6.95)
  • Phone by Will Self ($4.99)
  • The Talisman by Stephen King ($6.95)
  • Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan ($6.95)
  • The Devil’s Rosary by Seabury Quinn ($4.99)

If you want to buy any of these books or to see the full list, hit the button below.

Editor’s Pick

The deals will last until November 1 so you have a week to get some titles in if you’re itching for some Halloween scares. Which offer stands out to you? Let us know in the comments below.

Next up: 10 facts about Google Play to celebrate 10 years of downloads

Gboard’s new floating keyboard is a blessing for multitasking

Gboard floating keyboard

  • The latest Gboard update sees the addition of a floating keyboard feature.
  • This can be useful when multitasking or typing with one hand.
  • Gboard isn’t the first keyboard to get this feature.

Google has introduced a floating keyboard to Gboard and it makes multitasking significantly more convenient. Google added the feature to Gboard version 7.6 and it went live on October 19, according to 9to5 Google.

You can find the new feature by tapping on Gboard’s Google icon and then tapping the overflow menu. From here, you can turn the floating keyboard on and off or, if you think you will use it a lot, add it to Gboard’s easy access bar.

Once the floating keyboard is enabled, you can drag it around your screen and resize it as you see fit. Exiting the mode is achieved in exactly the same way as turning it on.

Multitasking without Gboard floating keyboard
Multitasking with Gboard floating keyboard

This is particularly useful for split-screen multitasking. Before the update, when you had two windows open and wanted to type something, the keyboard would show up in its usual place at the bottom of the screen. This would either cover up most of the bottom window or — as in the picture above — push the bottom window into the top window.

Both scenarios could be pretty annoying if you wanted to copy some information from one window into another. For example, when typing bank details into a payments app. The new floating keyboard means you can instead position the keyboard as you see fit, ensuring you can see the important info.

Editor’s Pick

As well as multitasking, the floating keyboard could make one-handed typing much easier as you can make the keyboard smaller and position it in a way that is comfortable for you.

Gboard isn’t the first keyboard to implement a floating feature. SwiftKey has offered the feature for years now. However, the Gboard addition is likely to be welcomed by users who want to use the floating feature without having to switch keyboards.

Next up: 10 best Android keyboards

There are a lot of big phones out there, but which is right for you?

Let’s face it: big phones are here to stay. Samsung first made people want them with the original Galaxy Note, and we have not looked back since. Even companies like Apple, which stuck to smaller smartphones for years, eventually followed the trend with the iPhone 6 Plus in 2014.

There are now more options than ever when looking for a smartphone with a big displays — it’s easy to get overwhelmed. This is especially true right now, as the fall has brought a ton of new phones, many packing large screens.

Whether you are undecided or simply want a second opinion, here is our list of the best big phones available right now. 


Best all-around: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is one of the best big phones you can buy

Want a big 6.3-inch AMOLED display and equally-large 4,000mAh battery? They’re here. Looking for at least 6GB of RAM and at least 128GB of expandable storage? Look no further. Hate notches? There isn’t one in sight. The Note 9 even comes with the series’ characteristic S Pen, which now adds tons of extra functionality via Bluetooth. The phone has no peer when it comes to its sheer number of features.

Why you should buy

  • The bright and large display is the best on the market,
  • If you can think of a software feature, it probably has it.
  • The S Pen brings features that no other phone has.

Why you might want to pass

  • The phone starts at $1,000.
  • Bixby continues to not be particularly good and its button cannot be officially remapped.
  • Based on precedent, software updates will be slow to arrive.

Learn more about the Galaxy Note 9


Best Galaxy Note 9 alternative: LG V40 ThinQ

LG V40 ThinQ in hand showing home screen

The story of the LG V40 ThinQ starts and ends with its five cameras — three around back and two up front — something no other phone’s done. Even though we were not very kind to the V40 ThinQ, the phone has potential options not seen in other phones.

Why you should buy

  • The phone can take regular, wide-angle, and telephoto shots.
  • The 32-bit Quad DAC pumps out great audio through the headphone jack.
  • The Google Assistant button is actually useful.

Why you might want to pass

  • The images do not live up to the hype.
  • The features do not justify its almost-$1,000 price tag.
  • Based on precedent, software updates will be extremely slow.

Learn more about the LG V40 ThinQ


Best big phone with stock Android: Google Pixel 3 XL

Pixel 3 XL - best big phone for stock fans

It might not have the bells and whistles of the Galaxy Note 9 and V40 ThinQ, but the Pixel 3 XL focuses on speed, ease of use, and being helpful. We didn’t call the Pixel 3 XL the Android iPhone for “the clicks” or lulz, but because it is the Android phone designed to appeal to everyone else. Its value is more than just specs on paper.

Why you should buy

  • The software is extremely fluid and gets updates directly from Google.
  • The single rear camera delivers an excellent and consistent photo-taking experience.
  • The learning curve is one of the smallest we have seen from an Android phone.

Why you might want to pass

  • You do not want to spend $899 on a smartphone.
  • Most of its headlining software features will trickle down to existing Pixels.
  • There is a lack of widespread availability.

Learn more about the Google Pixel 3 XL


Best big phone on the cheap: Honor 8X

It’s not as flashy as the Galaxy Note 9 or as fluid as the Pixel 3 XL, but the Honor 8X one of the best mid-tier smartphones and one of the best affordable big phones you can buy. This is a supersized phablet that comes in at under 300 euros (~$345), yet it delivers snappy performance and a stunning design. Look no further than the Honor 8X if you want a smartphone to make your wallet happy.

Why should you buy

  • The 3,750mAh battery has no problem surviving two days of use.
  • The premium design, performance, and storage options are a cut above your typical mid-tier smartphone.
  • You can buy four Honor 8Xs for the price of one Galaxy Note 9.

Why you might want to pass

  • The camera performance is hit or miss.
  • Dated hardware choices, such as a Micro-USB port and single bottom-firing speaker.
  • There is no IP rating.

Learn more about the Honor 8X


Best non-Android: iPhone XS Max

In any discussion of big phones, the iPhone XS Max is the elephant in the room. Notch haters will gravitate to the top, but everyone else will focus on the smooth performance, fantastic display, and great cameras. It may be cliche, but the iPhone XS Max is what happens when hardware and software meet in the middle as equals. Also, you really don’t have many other options for non-Android these days, with Windows Mobile pretty much dead.

Why you should buy

  • The A12 Bionic and iOS 12 optimizations deliver excellent performance.
  • The display rivals the Galaxy Note 9.
  • The phone slots in nicely with the rest of Apple’s ecosystem.

Why you might want to pass

  • The phone starts at $1,099.
  • The software does not make proper use of the large display.
  • Reports of phones not charging and antenna problems.

Learn more about the iPhone XS Max


We will continually update this list as manufacturers release more phones. You should also look out for the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and Mate 20 X, though we haven’t had enough time to fully review them. Perhaps one or both will make the list soon!

If you feel like we left something out or believe we nailed it, let us know in the comments below!

Pop quiz: Is this an Android or iOS feature?

Pop quiz - iPhone XS Max and Google Pixel 3 XL

The 10 questions in this quiz revolve around popular smartphone features, and your job is to figure out whether they are available on Android, iOS, or both operating systems. To be more specific, we’re talking exclusively about stock Android and iOS running on iPhones, which makes the quiz a lot more challenging.

Do you think you know enough about the two operating systems to get a good score? Find out by pressing the Start button below — and don’t forget to share your result on social media at the end.

Note: There is a widget embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s widget.


This is the 13th quiz in our regular weekly series. You can take the other 12 via the links below:

Let us know which questions you thought were the hardest and share your result with others in the comment section.

The Verizon Google Pixel 3 is SIM-locked, even if you get it at Best Buy

Google Pixel 3

  • The Verizon variants of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL appear to be SIM-locked to the network.
  • If you want to unlock them, you must activate the phones on Verizon’s network and wait up to 24 hours.
  • Previous Pixel phones, including the Verizon variants, were all unlocked out of the box.

If you thought about purchasing the Verizon variant of either the Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL because it would be easier to do so, you might want to rethink that decision.

The folks at Android Central recently purchased the Verizon version of the Pixel 3 XL through Best Buy. Disappointingly, they found that neither T-Mobile nor AT&T SIM cards worked. A thread on Reddit corroborated the report and added that a customer service representative said this was part of Verizon’s updated unlocking policy.

Android Central

Droid Life reached out to Verizon, which confirmed the practice. If you buy the Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL through retailers, you must first activate the phone on Verizon. The carrier said the phones are “automatically unlocked overnight” if you request it, though it could be up to 24 hours before this happens.

Verizon implemented this policy as a way to deter device theft during shipment, though the policy also ignores the agreement the carrier made after it purchased Block C spectrum.

Editor’s Pick

If you want an unlocked Pixel 3, the easiest way is to buy it from the Google Store, but this shouldn’t have to be the case. The previous Pixel phones were unlocked out of the box, including the Verizon variants, so you could just throw in whatever SIM card and they would work.

We’d avoid picking up the Verizon variants of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL unless you’re happy to stick with that carry, just to save yourself the unlocking hassle. 

Deal: Get the Google Home Hub for $99 ($50 off) from Home Depot

Google Home Hub Home Depot Sale

Leading up to Google’s fall hardware event, we leaked that the Home Hub, the search giant’s Smart Display, would only cost $149. Now that Google has made the device official, Home Depot is already selling it for 34 percent off ($99)

To recap, the Google Home Hub features a seven-inch display, can playback your favorite music and movies, control your smart home, and much more. Thanks to its small size and lack of a built-in camera, the Home Hub works perfectly for those who might want to use it in the bedroom and not worry about privacy issues. 

Editor’s Pick

Weirdly enough, Google built the operating system for the Home Hub based on the cast platform instead of using Android Things which is found on other Smart Displays. While we don’t know what this might entail, it could mean that this device might have added functionality not found on the third-party devices. 

You can buy the Home Hub in either chalk or charcoal for $99 by clicking on one of the buttons below. Home Depot’s website doesn’t state how long this discount will last so you better take advantage of it now before it’s gone.