We asked, you told us: The Pixel 4 / 4 XL is the most anticipated phone of 2019

Google Pixel 3 XL Camera

As there can’t be constant advances in technology, we occasionally have years that are just kind of boring. That is exactly what 2018 was. 2019 is the year that we could actually see a lot of advances and growth in the Android market.

So with all of that in mind, we asked you what phone you’re most excited to see announced in 2019. Here is what you had to say.

What phone are you most looking forward to in 2019?

Results

Sliding in just ahead of the OnePlus 7 / 7T, the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL took the crown with 18.8 percent of the votes. While the search giant’s flagships have always been a safe but boring option, it offers the best in camera performance, Android updates, and more.

After a lackluster launch of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, we can only hope that Google doesn’t drop the ball with its 2019 handsets.

As mentioned, the OnePlus 7 / 7T came in second with 18.1 percent of the reader’s votes. As the Chinese company has been producing some of the best smartphones for the price, this result isn’t all that surprising. With OnePlus’ push into the U.S. market and desire to be at the forefront of 5G, it could easily be one of the most popular brands in 2019.

And coming in third, we have the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus. As the South Korean company’s two flagships are the world’s most popular Android handsets, this isn’t surprising. While the Galaxy line hasn’t seen many changes over the last several years, we could see some changes with Samsung rumored to be using an Infinity-O display with the S10 handsets.

Noteworthy comments

Here are some of the best comments from last week’s poll explaining why they voted the way that they did:

  • I guess I’m not surprised the Pixel has the most. It’s such a boring phone though . Let me guess, it’ll look pretty much the same? I hate that I think this way as I was a huge Nexus fan and want to be excited about the Pixel, but that ridiculous price tag!
  • The Android One program is very promising and Xiaomi didn’t disappoint with it’s Mi A2. Let’s see what’s coming up.
  • The Xiaomi Mi A3. All the goodness of a ‘flagship killer’ without the ridiculous gimmicks for half the price.
  • Waiting for the Moto z4 (hoping for a force variant) or the Nokia 9 pureview.
  • IDK why, but Honor V20. Man this thing is sexy

That’s it for this week, everyone. As always, thanks for voting, thanks for the comments, and don’t forget to let us know what you thought of the results below.

Google in 2019: All in on AI

With the release of the Google Pixel 3 in October, Google reaffirmed its position as a worthy contender in the bloody war of the smartphone industry. However, despite the handset’s glowing reviews, the Pixel line still has a very small market share, especially compared to popular lines from Samsung or Huawei.

While Google’s ambitions for smartphone dominance may have a long way to go, it made huge strides in 2018 with Google Home hardware products like the Google Home Mini. It also solidified its reputation as the reigning king of the AI and virtual assistant world.

Let’s take a look at how Google ended 2018, and what’s likely to come in 2019.

Pixels are selling, but market share is still small

The back of the Google Pixel 3.

The Pixel 3 XL was probably the most successful smartphone of 2018 in one metric: organic publicity. While Google likely spent millions promoting the phone, the leak of black market prototype devices gave the Pixel 3 more promotion than Google could ever buy.

Months before the official launch of the Pixel 3 was even revealed, the public had already seen the Pixel 3 XL from every angle. We saw unboxing videos, full reviews, and photography samples before Google ran even one official ad for the device.

However, even with all this promotion, the Google Pixel 3 was no sales juggernaut. According to revenue estimates, the Pixel line — which includes Pixel smartphones, the Google Pixelbook, and the Google Pixel Slate — earned about $1.78 billion in combined gross profit in 2018. It might seem like a lot, but Samsung’s mobile division made $2 billion in gross profit from its smartphone sales in just the third quarter of 2018. That was a bad quarter, too.

The Pixel line is doing well — if you don’t compare it to any other major smartphone on the market.

Granted, Samsung offers many different smartphones, while Google only has one line, but that doesn’t negate how Pixel smartphones don’t earn Google nearly as much revenue as competitors’ devices.

Another metric illuminating Google’s lack of market share is its own Android distribution report. The most recent report from October 26, 2018, shows devices running Android 9 Pie — which would theoretically include every Pixel smartphone at that point — make up less than a tenth of a percent of all active Android devices.

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One tenth of a percent of the 2 billion active Android devices is 20 million devices. That means we can estimate there have been less than 20 million Pixel smartphones sold since the original Google Pixel launched in 2016.

Once again, 20 million might seem like a lot of smartphones for two years of sales, but in just the 2017 fiscal year, Apple sold over 216 million iPhones.

All of this data points to one thing: Google’s ambitions in the smartphone market have a very long way to go.

The one thing Google has over its competition is software. Along with a steady stream of Android updates, the Pixel smartphone line has arguably the best camera software of any smartphone in the history of smartphones. It also has unique AI-based features that competitors have yet to match.

We will just have to wait and see if Google can turn those superior products into more sales.

Google’s Chrome OS hardware isn’t gaining traction

Google’s Chrome OS is doing astoundingly well, especially in the education sector. By the end of 2017, in the United States, almost 60 percent of mobile computing shipments to schools from kindergarten to grade 12 were Chromebooks.

School systems love Chrome OS. The operating system is easy for kids to learn and use, and the hardware costs a fraction of what Windows laptops go for.

So why isn’t the Google Pixelbook or the recently-released Google Pixel Slate a best-selling computer on the market?

That answer is simple, too: price.

Google will never gain any traction in the laptop market if it doesn’t release hardware at an affordable price.

Competitor companies like Samsung, Asus, and Acer sell Chromebooks like hotcakes by keeping the devices as cheap as possible. Google is taking the opposite approach and creating top-tier hardware with a top-tier price tag. The entry-level variant of the Pixel Slate is a whopping $800 if you buy it with the (one would say necessary) keyboard sleeve. A maxed-out model of the Slate with its keyboard sleeve would cost you no less than $2,000.

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If Google wants to make a dent in the laptop market, it needs to abandon the idea of selling Chromebooks at Apple prices, at least for now. The Pixel Slate is powerful, beautiful, and altogether awesome, but the people ready to spend that much money on a laptop or tablet will just buy a Microsoft Surface Pro or Apple MacBook instead. It seems like the Pixel Slate was simply made for Google fans.

Maybe Google will be able to command $2,000 for a Chromebook years down the line. For now, it’s a fool’s errand.

Smart speakers are Google’s success story of the year

Google Home Hub logo

Despite the ho-hum progress of Pixel smartphones and laptops, Google’s smart speaker hardware is a force to be reckoned with. In 2016, it was estimated Google earned a gross profit of $49 million off its entire line of Home devices. In 2018, Home products will earn Google an estimated gross profit of $847 million, an increase of over 1,728 percent in two years.

If you look at revenues instead of profits, things get even more spectacular. In 2018, it’s estimated Google made $3.4 billion in revenue off its Home hardware, which is about the same amount it made off Pixel hardware.

A Pixel smartphone costs much more than most Google Home hardware. At $50 a pop, Google could potentially have sold over 50 million Google Home Minis in 2018.

Google is moving massive amounts of Google Home hardware — and the numbers are only going to get bigger.

Unfortunately, the two major companies in the smart speaker market — Google and Amazon — don’t report how many products they ship. Using estimates from market research firms and miscellaneous related data, it’s safe to assume Google is gobbling up market share from Amazon.

Editor’s Pick

Additionally, numerous research firms report Google Assistant — which powers Google Home hardware — is the best virtual assistant currently available. Most reviews of smart speakers also conclude that Google Home hardware is the best you can buy.

This is all fantastic news for Google, as AI and virtual assistants are the future. Although Google’s cash cow right now is still Google Search, it won’t be that way forever. Google knows years from now, its virtual assistant will be its cash cow, and the company has already set itself in the lead.

An interesting thing to note about Google Home hardware is price. A Google Home Mini is $50 and a Google Home Hub smart display is $150. Can it be a coincidence that these priced-to-move units are the best thing going for Google’s hardware division right now?

There’s still plenty of competition

The OnePlus 6T next to the Google Pixel 3 XL.

Google Search has little competition around the world. Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Chrome are also practically untouchable in their markets.

This is not the case with Google hardware devices like the Google Pixel smartphone or Google Pixel Slate. Even the runaway success of Google Home faces stiff competition from Amazon and others.

In the smartphone arena, Google faces competitors delivering devices with comparable hardware and lower prices. A phone like the OnePlus 6T undercuts the Google Pixel 3 by hundreds of dollars, delivering more RAM, more internal storage, the same processor, and the same all-glass build. Yes, the Pixel 3 has a far superior camera, but OnePlus understands consumers will buy up a device in droves if it cuts the right corners to keep it cheap.

RELATED: OnePlus 6T vs Google Pixel 3 XL

In the cases of laptops and computers, Google is pricing itself out of the market. The Microsoft Surface Pro tablet is on its sixth generation, which means consumers can find Surface Pros for half the price of a low-end Pixel Slate. To make matters worse, that Surface Pro will be able to run Windows applications which the majority of people are still looking for in a laptop experience.

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No matter how fancy of a laptop Google makes, few will buy it if it runs Chrome OS and costs as much as a macOS or Windows device. Consumers will stick with the operating system they know unless Google can give them an incentive to switch — which means dropping the price.

Finally, Google Home hardware is doing incredibly well, but Google’s main competitor Amazon is also doing incredibly well. What’s more, Amazon is doing most things faster than Google. It had its first smart speaker on sale well before Google. Amazon also beat Google to the punch in the smart display market and often releases new features before Google.

It’s a good bet Amazon will launch a new smart speaker product in 2019 and Google will launch its own answer to that product months later.

If Google wants to truly dominate the smart speaker industry, it needs to be faster than Amazon.

Google in 2019

Google is poised to drop some seriously interesting products in 2019. The most interesting is probably the anticipated Google Pixel 3 Lite (which may or may not be its real name).

Up until now, there have been two Pixel phones released each year: the regular Pixel and its XL counterpart. In 2019, however, we anticipate Google will release a mid-range Pixel and Pixel XL, likely delivering the same software experience as the “real” Pixel 3, but with downgraded hardware and specs to make it more affordable.

This could open up the Pixel experience to people in developed nations with more modest budgets, and also potentially allow people in developing countries like India to buy a Pixel. It could be a huge boon for the Pixel line.

For the first time ever, we’ll likely see a mid-range Pixel smartphone in 2019.

We don’t know much for certain about the Pixel 3 Lite, including its price. Google could overprice it and contradict the whole idea. We’ll probably hear more about the Pixel 3 Lite soon.

While we have some info on the Pixel 3 Lite, we haven’t heard anything about Google releasing a mid-tier laptop or tablet. If Google doesn’t have plans to release a Pixel Slate Lite in 2019, it really should. As stated earlier, people who can afford a Pixel Slate probably won’t buy it over a Windows- or macOS-based machine at a comparable price. If Google could deliver a high-end hardware experience in the $500 range (with the keyboard included), it might stand a chance to grab some serious market share.

Editor’s Pick

Google’s Project Stream — which lets you play AAA video games using in your browser — could also help a mid-range Chrome OS tablet sell. If Google could make a Chromebook or tablet run pretty much anything on a virtual server, Chrome OS would really have a chance against Windows and macOS. Project Stream is still in its infancy, though, so it’s unlikely this would make a huge difference this year.

Finally, we didn’t see a Google wearable in 2018. However, with Google’s push of Wear OS and Google Fit, it seems it’s only a matter of time before we see a “Made by Google” smartwatch.

RELATED: 2019 will be a great year for smartwatches and fitness trackers

There’s some truly untapped potential in the wearable market, especially for Google. It could sell a wearable not as a generic smartwatch, but more like a Google Home smart speaker you carry around on your wrist at all times. For that to work, Google would have to adopt the same strategy as it did with its Home hardware: make it great and make it cheap.

Google’s major advantage: Limitless cash

A Google logo.

Unlike pretty much every other hardware manufacturer in the mobile industry, Google practically prints money from its Google Search business. The amount of cash the company pulls in from Search alone helps fund all sorts of risky endeavors (Wi-Fi balloons, anyone?), as well as more straightforward things like the Pixel smartphone.

With that in mind, there really is no excuse for Google to not be one of the best hardware manufacturers in the business. It has the talent, the money, the marketing power, and the infrastructure to do pretty much whatever it wants. That’s why the low adoption rates of the company’s smartphones and tablets are so confounding.

Editor’s Pick

If Google truly wants to dominate the mobile markets, it needs to start from the beginning just like every other company. It needs to release smartly-priced products to get people hooked, and then release better, more expensive products as the business becomes more refined.

This whole strategy of rushing out of the gate charging Apple prices for hardware riddled with problems and out-spec’d by phones half the price simply won’t get the company anywhere. It understands this with Google Home hardware, but not with other divisions.

Google has everything it needs to make 2019 its year. Let’s see if it can do it.

Next: HTC in 2019: Last chance saloon

How to use Skype for Chromebook

Skype for Chromebook - Skype on Chromebook Shutterstock

Chromebooks are great at so many things. They’re an inexpensive alternative to many laptops, and their storage is largely cloud based for extra convenience. You can use them for all of your chat needs, but if you want to use Skype for Chromebook? It’s really easy.

There are actually two ways to use Skype on a Chromebook, so let’s jump right in and take a look.

Editor’s tip: New to the world of Chromebooks? Our Chromebook Buyer’s guide helps explain what a Chromebook can and can’t do, your options, and more. 

Going the browser route

Chrome OS is all about the web, so using the browser a simple way to get things done. Here’s how to use Skype for Chromebook via the Chome browser:

  • Open your Chrome browser.
  • Navigate to the Skype website.
  • Log in using your username (or email account or phone number) and password.

Skype for Chromebook - Skype on Chromebook

Once you’ve signed in, that’s it. You’re done. You’re now ready to use Skype to chat with friends, use video, add new contacts, and everything else you usually do — on a Chromebook.

But what if you’d rather use a dedicated app?

While Skype isn’t included out of the box, most modern Chromebooks now support Android apps,and that means you can simply fire up Google Play and download it!

  1. Head to the Google Play app and search for Skype.
  2. Follow the basic installation instructions.
  3. Once it’s installed you should find Skype in the app drawer (that little circle to the bottom left).
  4. Open up the app, login and that’s it!

As you can see, using Skype on a Chromebook is actually really simple and goes to show you that you don’t need a Windows or Mac computer to do basic things like video chat. Of course that’s just scratching the surface, here are some of other great guides below:

Chromebook coverage:

Google Pixel 3 international giveaway!

It’s time for the Sunday giveaway! Like every week, we’re giving away another a brand new Android phone to one lucky Android Authority reader.

A big congratulations to the winners of last week’s Insta360 ONE X giveaway, Zelijko A. from Serbia, Alam K. from Australia, and Ilya E. from Russia.

This week we’re giving away a brand new Google Pixel 3, courtesy of the Android Authority app!

If you’re looking for the best way to stay up to date with AndroidAuthority.com, look no further than the AA app for Android. Available for free in the Google Play Store, the official AA app is the fastest way to get all the latest news, rumors, tips and tricks, and device reviews on your mobile device.

It’s fast, looks good, and gives you breaking Android news at your fingertips — what more could you want?

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are here. While they may not rival the Galaxy Note 9 in terms of specs, these phones improve on the very aspect that made the Pixel 2 so great — the camera. They still sport the same single rear cameras as the Pixel 2, but there are a ton of camera software improvements here. Top Shot mode will take multiple pictures of your subject and recommend the best one. Night Sight also brings next-level low-light photography thanks to computational photography.

They both have 18:9 screens (18.5:9 for the XL), yet they still look very different from one another. The Pixel 3 has a 5.5-inch Full HD+ screen that makes it look like a smaller Pixel 2 XL, while the Pixel 3 XL has a big ol’ notch at the top of its screen. Both phones also come with Qi wireless charging support, no headphone jack (womp womp), and still manage to squeeze in front-facing speakers.

To learn more about the Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL, head to our related coverage below:

Enter the giveaway here

Google Pixel 3 international giveaway!

Don’t miss: JBL Charge 4 giveaway

Winners gallery

Terms & conditions

  • This is an international giveaway (except when we can not ship to your country).
  • If we can not ship to your country, you will be compensated with an online gift card of equal MSRP value to the prize.
  • We are not responsible for lost shipments.
  • We are not responsible if your giveaway prize malfunctions.
  • You must be age of majority in your country of residence.
  • We are not responsible for any duties or import fees that you may incur.
  • Only one entry per person; please do not enter multiple email addresses. We will verify all winners and if we detect multiple email addresses by the same person you will not be eligible to win.
  • We reserve all rights to make any changes to this giveaway.
  • This giveaway is operated by Android Authority.
  • The prize will ship when it is available to purchase.

More: Android Authority international giveaway FAQs

Microsoft intern claims Google tried to sabotage Edge browser, Google issues denial

  • A former Microsoft intern claims that Google introduced minor code into YouTube in an effort to sabotage the Microsoft Edge browser.
  • Google just issued a statement denying the validity of the claim.
  • This isn’t the first time someone has alleged that Google purposely gives other browsers disadvantages.

Earlier this week, Joshua Bakita, a former software engineering intern at Microsoft, posted a comment to Hacker News which lays out a stunning allegation: that Google allegedly tweaked YouTube code in order to hinder other browsers’ use of YouTube content, specifically Microsoft Edge.

According to Bakita, Google introduced “a hidden empty div” over YouTube videos, which caused no effect in Chrome browsers but caused the Edge browser’s hardware acceleration fast-path to malfunction. The result of this hidden code made YouTube videos display faster and more efficiently in Google Chrome than in Microsoft Edge.

Editor’s Pick

Bakita points to this alleged coding trick as an example of Google’s playing dirty to keep Chrome on top and other browsers struggling. He also says it is one example of why Microsoft is overhauling the Edge browser and re-building it with Chromium as its base, which will make it work more like Google Chrome.

Today, via The Verge, a YouTube spokesperson issued a formal statement on the matter, categorically denying Bakita’s allegations. The statement is here:

“YouTube does not add code designed to defeat optimizations in other browsers, and works quickly to fix bugs when they’re discovered. We regularly engage with other browser vendors through standards bodies, the Web Platform Tests project, the open-source Chromium project and more to improve browser interoperability.”

According to the YouTube spokesperson, the “hidden empty div” code Bakita suggests was sabotage was actually simply a bug, which has now been fixed.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time someone has claimed that Google stacks the deck in favor of Chrome. Earlier this year, a Mozilla program manager claimed YouTube code created a page load bottleneck for Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge, resulting in five-fold speed deprecation in non-Chrome browsers. The Mozilla employee pointed to a Firefox extension which circumvented the problem.

What do you think? Is Google playing dirty in the browser wars, or are these isolated incidents of bugs blown out of proportion? Let us know your opinions in the comments.

NEXT: Chrome for Android’s ‘Sneak Peek’ loads a link without leaving current tab

Google will spend $1 billion on new NYC campus ‘Google Hudson Square’

A Google logo.

  • The new Google NYC campus will be called “Google Hudson Square.”
  • Google Hudson Square will cost at least $1 billion.
  • The campus expansion will be finalized by 2022 and will allow Google to double its current staff numbers in the city.

Today, Google revealed its official plans for the expansion of its New York City campus, via Politico. The new Google NYC headquarters will be dubbed “Google Hudson Square,” aptly named due to the location of the buildings in the lower Manhattan district by the same name.

Google plans to invest over $1 billion in the creation of the campus.

There will be three buildings in all that make up the campus: two pre-existing buildings on Hudson Street and a yet-to-be-built building on nearby Washington Street. Google expects to begin moving into the Hudson Street buildings by 2020 and for the new building to be complete by 2022.

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Google and Alphabet Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said in a blog post that the company will also “continue to deepen our commitments in STEM education, workforce development and access to technology,” which will include creating a program to train workers in digital skills. “We believe that as our company grows, we have a responsibility to support the communities we call home,” she said.

The Google NYC expansion comes as other tech giants from the west coast start moving eastward. Amazon’s move to both New York City and Virginia, in particular, is causing some controversy due to the heavy tax breaks the company is receiving. Several New York City protests have already happened related to the move.

However, Google has had a presence in New York for years already with little fanfare. It’s likely this expansion won’t receive the same amount of antagonism.

NEXT: Rhode Island sues Google over the two Google+ data breaches

Dodge spam calls on original Google Pixel with Call Screen: now rolling out

  • Google has started rolling out Assistant’s Call Screen feature to the original Google Pixel and Pixel XL.
  • Call Screen allows Assistant to answer calls on the user’s behalf.
  • It’s only available in the U.S. at the moment.

Google has started rolling out the Pixel 3’s Call Screen feature to the original Pixel and Pixel XL, according to reports on Reddit. A number of Pixel owners have chimed in to a thread started over the weekend to confirm the deployment.

Call Screen allows Google Assistant to answer calls on the user’s behalf. It announces itself and asks what the purpose of the call is, while users can listen in to the conversation to take over if they want to. It’s something that can deter nuisance callers.

Editor’s Pick

Google rolled out Call Screen to the Pixel 2 and 2XL only last month and it had been expected to make its way to the original Pixels shortly after. Some device owners have also reported receiving saved call transcripts too, a feature which isn’t even on all Pixel 3 smartphones yet (though Google says it will be by the year’s end).

However, some Pixel owners still report having neither feature, so it looks like a staged rollout.

Call Screen is still U.S.-only for the time being but Google plans to roll it out in more regions in the future. If you’re in the States and are yet to receive it, look out for it arriving on your Pixel 1, 2, or 3 in the next couple of weeks.

The Google Store is offering holiday deals on Home Hub, Nest products, and more

Google Home Hub

Black Friday was only a couple of weeks ago, but the Google Store is already back with its holiday sale. If you didn’t happen to purchase presents yet, these discounts should save you some money.

First up, Google is yet again discounting its latest smartphones. While the sales aren’t as great as what we saw back during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, they might be enough to make you consider picking up a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL for yourself or a loved one.

The Google Store’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL discounts are live right now and will end on December 22. 

Editor’s Pick

Next up, Google is taking a decent amount off of its smart home tech. This includes deals on the original Google Home, Home Max, Home Hub, and the 4K-capable Chromecast Ultra.

You can take advantage of these deals between now and December 24.

Since late November, Google has been offering customers $80 off when they bundle the Home Hub with select Nest products. The Google Store is upping this deal and is taking an additional $20 off the bundled cost, bringing the saving to $100.

The below bundles are also available starting today with discounts ending on December 24.

5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Android Apps Weekly

This is the featured image for Android Apps Weekly 12-08-2018
Welcome to the 272nd edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:

  • Microsoft has some big plans for Microsoft Edge. For starters, it’s replacing EdgeHTML for the much more popular Chromium. Microsoft claims the change helps them release more updates and work better cross-platform. The good news is that it might allow some serious developments like support for MacOS. However, it also means that Chrome has gobbled up yet another competitor. Opera also uses Chromium as a base for its operation too. In any case, you can hit the link to learn more.
  • Google’s chat apps are having a pretty bad week. Google Hangouts is turning into a chat platform similar to the likes of Slack or Discord. The change should take place by 2020. It was once a couple of features away from being the iMessage of Android so it’s a staggering change. Then, Google announced the shuttering of Google Allo. Google is transitioning many of the features to Android Messages, an SMS app with RCS support. It seems like Google believes RCS to be the future. Those are two more Google social platforms to bite the dust in 2018 along with Spaces and Google+.
  • Epic Games had an exciting week. Fortnite received a new game feature. There is now a creative mode similar to the creative mode in Minecraft. Additionally, the company announced a competitor to Steam and the Google Play Store. The Epic Games Store houses PC and mobile games in the same place. This could be a big deal because no other store covers both platforms. It’s also not a half bad idea with how many indie games get both PC and mobile releases. We’ll see how that goes.
  • Google announced Hummingbird officially this week. The Hummingbird platform is a simple idea with a complicated execution. It lets developers build a single app that runs on a variety of platforms, including iOS, the web, and Android. All-in-one toolkits are usually bogus with support for a single platform with a few features for a second. Hummingbird has the opportunity to be the first of its kind to not be awful. Hit the link for more details!
  • Google announced its picks for the best of 2018 in the Google Play Store. There were a lot of winners across a range of categories, including PUBG Mobile (fan favorite and best game), YouTube TV (fan favorite), Avengers: Infinity War (fan favorite), Drops (best app), Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff (best ebook), 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson (best audiobook), and The Walking Dead (best TV show). You can hit the link to see all of the selections and check them out on Google Play!

Gorogoa

Price: $4.99
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Gorogoa is a new indie puzzle game. It features elements similar to Noodlecake Games’ Framed series. The game features a bunch of comic book style panels that players arrange and combine into a full story. It features hand-drawn graphics, a fun story line, and simple mechanics. The game itself is fairly fun to play. However, the carefully crafted animations and story are the real story here. Those who enjoy thoughtful narratives should enjoy this one quite a bit. The game is a little bit short, but most people don’t seem to mind. It runs for $4.99 with no in-app purchases or advertisements. This is also from the same developer of Florence, a slice-of-life narrative game.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY

Yahoo Play

Price: Free
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Yahoo Play is the latest app from, well, Yahoo. It’s a pop culture app and has tons of celebrity, pop culture, and entertainment stuff. It also does a bunch of other stuff. At its core, it’s a news app with news about the pop culture scene. However, it also includes original video series along with trivia and quiz games. There is honestly quite a bit to do in this app. However, it does suffer from bugs and slow load times. It definitely needs some work. This could be fun for those enjoy entertainment, but we recommend maybe waiting a bit until Yahoo sorts out the issues.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Yahoo Play

Command and Conquer: Rivals

Price: Freemium
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Command and Conquer: Rivals saw its global launch earlier this week. It’s a duel-style battle game. Players choose a hero, build an army, and battle other players online in one versus one battles. The game mechanics also include strategy elements as well. Players must control the battlefield and resupply their troops in order to win. Of course, your army is customizable as well. The game has some serious balancing issues right now. Low level players get matched up with players significantly more powerful and it’s a little annoying. Otherwise, it’s actually not a half bad game.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY

Google Santa Tracker

Price: Free
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Google’s yearly Santa tracker app is live in the Play Store as well as on the web. It has about the same content as it did last year. That includes a bunch of kid-friendly min-games, a countdown timer to the big day, and some other little bits of fun. The app then tracks Santa on Christmas Eve to the delight of young children. The min-games aren’t awe inspiring or anything, but they’re good enough for most younger kids. It’s a colorful, fun way to track Santa every year. It’s also entirely free with no ads or in-app purchases. Thanks, Google!
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY

Absolute Drift

Price: $2.99
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Absolute Drift is the latest game from Noodlecake Studios. It’s a decidedly mobile game with a racing theme. Players drift around corners, avoid obstacles, and collect little red balls for points. The game isn’t fast, but it’s surprisingly intense anyway. Plus, there’s a relaxing soundtrack to bring it all together. The game also features six cars, three game modes, a night mode, leaderboards, and even Bluetooth controller support. It costs an extremely reasonable $2.99 and has no ads or additional in-app purchases. What’s not to like?
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY

If we missed any big Android apps or games news, updates, or releases, tell us about in the comment section below! Also, check out our weekly podcast here!

December 2018 security patch arrives for Pixel, Nexus, Essential Phone, and 2016 Pixels

Update #2, December 5 at 8:39 a.m. ET: Google has posted December 2018 factory images and OTA files for the original Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL. You can download them below:


Update #1, December 3 at 4:12 p.m. ET: Essential is usually quick to roll out Android security patches soon after Google releases them, and this month’s patch is no different. Essential Phone owners, the December Android security patch should be rolling out to your devices now!


Original article, December 3 at 1:05 p.m. ET: Right on schedule, Google has released Android’s December security patch. The new factory images for the various Google devices are here, while the OTA files are here.

The good news is that the Pixel C, Nexus 6P, and Nexus 5X are still getting updates, despite the fact that the company is no longer obligated to issue security patches for the three-year-old devices.

However, the bad news is that — just like last month — the security patches for the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL are not here yet. Last month, the updates for the OG Pixel devices came about two weeks after the initial batch. Is this going to be the trend from now on?

Editor’s Pick

The December patch itself includes fixes for multiple security vulnerabilities. The most severe of these issues is a critical security vulnerability in media framework that could enable a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on a device. However, Google has no record of any attacker actually exploiting this vulnerability.

The patch also includes a long-awaited fix for the memory management problems present on the Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL. There’s also some camera improvements, a fix for flickering always-on-display, and some Bluetooth audio enhancements. Check out the table below to see what’s getting a fix for your device(s):

If you don’t want to wait for the December security patch to make its way to your phone, you can download the latest factory image or OTA file from the links below. From there, you can either flash a fresh build to your phone or sideload the OTA update.

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