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Android Oreo 8.1 brings AR Stickers to Pixel 2 and Pixel phones

Google’s is finally bringing its augmented reality (AR) stickers supported through its ARCore to Android and the Play Store, providing you have a Pixel phone.

Revealed at the same time as the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL handsets, Google’s ARCore provides the framework for supporting AR images on Android devices without the need for dual camera arrays and depth sensors.

The framework supports AR Stickers, a feature and app that allows users to superimpose images of virtual animated objects and characters, including an anamorphic pizza and Google’s own Android robot, over whatever is being view by a phone’s camera.

Providing you have one of the Pixel 2 phones or an original Pixel handset, you can simply download the update to Android 8.1 being currently rolled out by Google, and the AR Stickers feature will appear in the settings on the Pixel phones’ camera app. From there its simply a case of selecting a character and placing them into whatever environment you’re viewing through you phone’s camera.

Android Oreo 8.1 has not rolled out to our Pixel 2 XL at the time of writing, so we couldn’t see the AR Stickers in action for ourselves, but various reports paint AR Stickers in a positive light, with the AR characters fitting nicely into scenes and matching the lighting of the environment.

However, the AR effects breakdown when someone walks in front of the camera causing a character to be superimposed onto them not the target object. This could be down to ARCore shunning the need for a depth sensor, or simply indicate that the underlying AR framework is in its early days.

Both the ARCore framework and the AR Stickers are available to download from the Play Store, which would suggest that other Android phones will soon get support for the Google AR features.

More handsets with access to an AR framework would certainly help the rather niche area of tech have more of an impact beyond the Pixel handsets and hit semi-AR game Pokemon Go.

Related: Best Android phones of 2017

Does AR appeal to you or is it too much of a gimmick? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook. 

AR Stickers on the Google Pixel 2 make Android Oreo even sweeter

Barring a few post-launch problems, it’s difficult to imagine ways in which the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL could get much better. But leave it to Google to one-up itself. 

AR (augmented reality) Stickers are the best part of Android Oreo 8.1, the latest update to hit your Pixel phone (if not already, then very soon). Why? Well, they’re pure fun.

If you’ve used Snapchat recently, you’re probably familiar with the concept: the app utilizes your phone’s rear camera to place virtual objects into your reality, whether it be on the sidewalk, a table or on the palm of your hand, sprucing up your messages with fun, animated objects.

The interface is clean and simple to use, built right into the camera app

Google’s AR Stickers run with the same idea, then take it to a whole new level. Starting first with the hardware, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are specially tuned for AR, meaning these stickers load quickly, run smoothly, and better yet, they blend right into your environment in a realistic manner thanks to its AR Core smarts at work. That means the lighting, shadows and detail seen here, even early on, are the best that we’ve seen yet in the still-fledgling AR space.

Below, notice the subtle green lighting cast onto R2-D2 when moved into the light.

This is all good and well because you’ll actually want people to see these stickers. Your favorite characters from Stranger Things and Star Wars: The Last Jedi comprise the coolest, most interesting stickers available at launch, but even the more simplistic animations are full of life and well worth checking out. 

My favorite might just be the sad sushi roll that drops a few grains of sticky rice when you drop it into your world. This model, and each of them really, just ooze with personality. It’s also really fun to plaster some 3D text in an environment.

AR that has a chance of sticking around

We’ve seen augmented reality sprouting up in many places recently, including the aforementioned Snapchat, but also in Apple’s AR Kit, which brings similar reality-bending experiences to your iPhone. 

While Apple’s AR tech earns props for working across more of its devices, Google’s AR Stickers beat the competition to the punch when it comes to integrating the tech directly into the stock camera app. Beyond that, it encompasses past learnings from Google Tango-enabled AR phones, like the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and Asus ZenFone AR, then folds it all into something that’s more somehow more impressive, despite having just the Pixel 2’s single camera to do all of the lifting.

It’s also social and is thus, more likely to catch on and more importantly, remain in use by people who want to express themselves in ways other than using static emoji, pictures or words.

A few AR caveats

What limits the impact of AR Stickers out of the gate is that it’s exclusive to the Pixel range, including last year’s Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL, while it’s best experienced on the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL. On top of that, the Android Oreo 8.1 update is required to activate the new feature.

The execution of the augmented reality, while generally good, isn’t perfect. At times, the environment-sensing function that the AR Stickers rely on to stay grounded, well, couldn’t find the ground due to snow or an obstruction, so the AR models just floated away. It really requires near-perfect conditions to nail the effect convincingly.

In its infancy, it’s also worth noting that using the AR function absolutely destroys battery life. In ten minutes of use, the Pixel 2 was warm to the touch and its battery dropped a little over 10% in just as many minutes.

Not to pile on the problems, but the camera quality takes a big hit. This is so easily noticed because the Pixel 2 has one of the best cameras we’ve seen yet in a smartphone. Perhaps, it’s a compromise to keep the phone running smoothly or to make the AR graphics have more visual “pop”.

Other 8.1 features

Google Lens is learning a few new tricks in the Oreo 8.1 update, ones that look to save you a lot of hassle. For instance, it can copy things like gift card numbers, Wi-Fi passwords or recipes from a captured image. Then, you can paste the info in a web browser or send it along in a text.

Sure, it’s not as cool as Google’s IO 2017 demo that had Lens automatically connecting to your Wi-Fi when it gleaned the log-in info from your router, but it’s a good step in the right direction.

Some other small additions include SmartSelect, which suggests relevant apps to open when you highlight text. Selecting the words “alternative rock” would ideally suggest Google Play Music, copying an address would prompt you to open Maps, and so on.

Oreo 8.1 can also display Wi-Fi speeds next to available networks. This way, you know what sort of performance to expect before you go through the trouble of logging in.

Altogether, this is a rather substantial update from Google. For Pixel users, there’s even more to do with your phones, and it also marks the debut of Android Go (Oreo Edition), which will bring the best of the latest Android update to affordable smartphones around the world.

An easy fix for Google Pixel 2 fingerprint scanner issues

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Google rolls out stable Android 8.1 Oreo build to Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL beta users

afba9_google-pixel-2-and-2-xl-review-aa-13-of-19-840x473 Google rolls out stable Android 8.1 Oreo build to Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL beta users


Google began rolling out the final Android 8.1 Oreo build earlier this week, following a brief trial period with the Android 8.1 Developer Preview 2. While Google is still in the midst of updating its phones from 8.0 to 8.1, it is also now delivering the final build to those who were running the beta version of the Android 8.1 DP 2.

According to Android Police, it’s only the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL that are so far receiving the OTA, and it’s a relatively small patch at around 40 MB. There isn’t much between the final 8.1 software and previous DP 2 build, though the update will switch users back to the regular update channel (i.e. they will leave the beta) ready for future OTA updates.

In Android 8.1, Google has enabled the Pixel 2’s Pixel Visual Core image processing chip, fixed some touch sensitivity issues, and improved its neural network APIs. Oh, and the burger emoji has been redesigned so that the cheese is in the correct position.

Look out for the OTA hitting your device soon.

Google rolls out stable Android 8.1 Oreo build to Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL beta users

a9aa0_google-pixel-2-and-2-xl-review-aa-13-of-19-840x473 Google rolls out stable Android 8.1 Oreo build to Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL beta users


Google began rolling out the final Android 8.1 Oreo build earlier this week, following a brief trial period with the Android 8.1 Developer Preview 2. While Google is still in the midst of updating its phones from 8.0 to 8.1, it is also now delivering the final build to those who were running the beta version of the Android 8.1 DP 2.

According to Android Police, it’s only the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL that are so far receiving the OTA, and it’s a relatively small patch at around 40 MB. There isn’t much between the final 8.1 software and previous DP 2 build, though the update will switch users back to the regular update channel (i.e. they will leave the beta) ready for future OTA updates.

In Android 8.1, Google has enabled the Pixel 2’s Pixel Visual Core image processing chip, fixed some touch sensitivity issues, and improved its neural network APIs. Oh, and the burger emoji has been redesigned so that the cheese is in the correct position.

Look out for the OTA hitting your device soon.

Google rolls out stable Android 8.1 Oreo build to Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL beta users

a9aa0_google-pixel-2-and-2-xl-review-aa-13-of-19-840x473 Google rolls out stable Android 8.1 Oreo build to Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL beta users


Google began rolling out the final Android 8.1 Oreo build earlier this week, following a brief trial period with the Android 8.1 Developer Preview 2. While Google is still in the midst of updating its phones from 8.0 to 8.1, it is also now delivering the final build to those who were running the beta version of the Android 8.1 DP 2.

According to Android Police, it’s only the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL that are so far receiving the OTA, and it’s a relatively small patch at around 40 MB. There isn’t much between the final 8.1 software and previous DP 2 build, though the update will switch users back to the regular update channel (i.e. they will leave the beta) ready for future OTA updates.

In Android 8.1, Google has enabled the Pixel 2’s Pixel Visual Core image processing chip, fixed some touch sensitivity issues, and improved its neural network APIs. Oh, and the burger emoji has been redesigned so that the cheese is in the correct position.

Look out for the OTA hitting your device soon.

Google rolls out stable Android 8.1 Oreo build to Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL beta users

a9aa0_google-pixel-2-and-2-xl-review-aa-13-of-19-840x473 Google rolls out stable Android 8.1 Oreo build to Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL beta users


Google began rolling out the final Android 8.1 Oreo build earlier this week, following a brief trial period with the Android 8.1 Developer Preview 2. While Google is still in the midst of updating its phones from 8.0 to 8.1, it is also now delivering the final build to those who were running the beta version of the Android 8.1 DP 2.

According to Android Police, it’s only the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL that are so far receiving the OTA, and it’s a relatively small patch at around 40 MB. There isn’t much between the final 8.1 software and previous DP 2 build, though the update will switch users back to the regular update channel (i.e. they will leave the beta) ready for future OTA updates.

In Android 8.1, Google has enabled the Pixel 2’s Pixel Visual Core image processing chip, fixed some touch sensitivity issues, and improved its neural network APIs. Oh, and the burger emoji has been redesigned so that the cheese is in the correct position.

Look out for the OTA hitting your device soon.

Google rolls out stable Android 8.1 Oreo build to Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL beta users

a9aa0_google-pixel-2-and-2-xl-review-aa-13-of-19-840x473 Google rolls out stable Android 8.1 Oreo build to Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL beta users


Google began rolling out the final Android 8.1 Oreo build earlier this week, following a brief trial period with the Android 8.1 Developer Preview 2. While Google is still in the midst of updating its phones from 8.0 to 8.1, it is also now delivering the final build to those who were running the beta version of the Android 8.1 DP 2.

According to Android Police, it’s only the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL that are so far receiving the OTA, and it’s a relatively small patch at around 40 MB. There isn’t much between the final 8.1 software and previous DP 2 build, though the update will switch users back to the regular update channel (i.e. they will leave the beta) ready for future OTA updates.

In Android 8.1, Google has enabled the Pixel 2’s Pixel Visual Core image processing chip, fixed some touch sensitivity issues, and improved its neural network APIs. Oh, and the burger emoji has been redesigned so that the cheese is in the correct position.

Look out for the OTA hitting your device soon.

Google is pushing final 8.1 OTA updates to Pixel 2 and 2 XL devices on the beta

Android 8.1 Oreo is final just a few weeks after the second developer preview rolled out. You can get the system images and OTA files for manual installation, and OTAs are hitting phones running 8.0. That’s not all—devices in the developer preview that were running DP2 are also seeing an OTA update today.

So far, Pixel 2 and 2 XL devices are getting an OTA notification.

2bf09_nexus2cee_screenshot_20171207-152727-329x585 Google is pushing final 8.1 OTA updates to Pixel 2 and 2 XL devices on the beta 2bf09_nexus2cee_screenshot_20171207-152727-329x585 Google is pushing final 8.1 OTA updates to Pixel 2 and 2 XL devices on the beta

For the Pixel 2 XL, the OTA update clocks in at just 42.9MB. The Pixel 2 OTA is 40.6MB. This OTA update will get you back on the stable channel without flashing back to Android 8.0 first. Doing that (by leaving the beta program) will also factory reset your device. There’s no sign of OTAs for other beta devices, but it shouldn’t be long.

There should not be any major differences between the second preview and the final build. Android 8.1 adds a fixed hamburger emoji, a neural network API, Pixel visual core support, and more. If the update isn’t appearing for you, try mashing the “check for update” button. Google said that would start doing things earlier this year. So far, that seems like a lie.

Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days sale: Apple iPhone X sees price drop, Google Pixel 2 sees 34% discount

Starting noon on December 7, Flipkart launched a two-day ‘Big Shopping Days’ sale with massive discounts across categories and brands. The star attractions of the sale are: Apple iPhone X and Google Pixel 2 mobile phones.

Flipkart went live at 12 PM with a limited stock sale on Apple iPhone X handsets. The sale started from a price point of Rs 89,000 and also feature an additional offer of Rs 5000 instant discount to those using SBI credit cards for their purchase. The phones are available at no cost EMI by the ecommerce company.

Banking on mobile phones
Flipkart’s two of the biggest categories – mobile phones and electronics – feature some of the deepest discount with the sale scheduled to last from December 7 to 9. Another star attraction in the category is Google Pixel 2 handsets which is made available to customers at a steep discount, starting from Rs 39,999 or lower. Google Pixel 2 is originally available at Rs 61000 in the market.

Other mobile phone brands like Samsung on Nxt, Moto C Plus, Lenovo K8 Plus are also part of the sale with heavy discounts.

Electronics, accessories, and more
Another big seller for Flipkart – electronics – features heavy discounts on several products and brands. The company is offering massive discounts on laptops, headphones, speakers with brands like Sony and JBL leading the discount race with 70% off.

DSLR cameras are being sold on discount with certain brands also offering free headsets worth Rs 6499 free on the sale of these cameras.

One of the featured offer is a flat 50% discount on Fossil Wander smartwatches.

The website also has a separate section dedicated to gaming fans called Gamer’s Paradise and lists up to 50% off on gaming laptops, consoles, and other accessories. Microsoft Xbox S is being offered at a discount range of 10-23%; with purchase of video games inviting an extra 10% off.

Other big categories invited big discounts are: Personal and Healthcare products (up to 80% off), Fashion and Lifetsyle (50-80% off). Winter clothing will have up to 80% off across brands.

The website has also tied up with the SBI bank for extra offers to those using the bank’s credit cards for their transactions, with 10% instant discount on offer.

Android 8.1 starts rolling out to Nexus and Pixel devices

If you have one of Google’s latest handsets, 8.1 unlocks the Pixel Visual Core chip so that third-party apps can take advantage of the Pixel 2’s AI-powered photography. In theory, any app that uses the standard Android camera platform can take richer photos and spare you from having to switch apps.

You don’t need one of the newer phones to see the other benefits. Android 8.1 includes a neural network toolkit that lets apps run TensorFlow Lite and other AI frameworks on-device, instead of leaning on a distant server. Apps can make better use of autofill forms, and there’s an obligatory round of bug fixes.

When other devices get Android 8.1 is up in the air. Many major Android phone makers are only just testing 8.0 updates, and they might not want to delay things further by evaluating 8.1. In some cases, you may stand a better chance of getting 8.1 through a brand new device.

OnePlus 5T Charges Faster Than LG V30, iPhone X, and Google Pixel 2: Report

While smartphone vendors like Apple, LG, and Samsung lately ventured in the growing space of fast charging, it has been found through a new study that the Dash Charge technology on the OnePlus 5T outpaces the competition by offering fastest charging time. OnePlus first deployed its native fast charging technology in OnePlus 3 last year as an advancement over Qualcomm’s default Quick Charge 3.0 support. The technology is claimed to achieve 60 percent or even more battery charge within 30 minutes.

Product review site Tom’s Guide has tested a group of 10 flagship smartphones to bring out the fastest charging feature. Though the group includes the LG V30, iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, Google Pixel 2, and Samsung Galaxy Note 8. In the test, the OnePlus 5T managed to outpace all these models. The Chinese handset hit 59 percent charge in 30 minutes of charging time and reached the milestone of 93 percent charge in an hour. The iPhone X, on the other hand, when tested with an optional 29W adapter and USB-C to Lightning cable reached the mark of 50 percent charge in 30 minutes. The LG V30 comes second in the list of tested flagship models, achieving 53 percent charge in 30 minutes. Moreover, the Pixel 2 reached 38 percent, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 added 35 percent of power in the 30-minute span.

If we believe the latest study, the iPhone X charges 81 percent in 60 minutes, while the Pixel 2 reaches 75 percent in the same time frame. This shows that Apple has enabled a faster-charging technology than what Google is offering on its latest Pixel flagship. However, to enable fast charging on your new iPhone model, you need to pick a separate power adapter that supports USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) and comes with USB-C.

Unlike the iPhone case in which you need to purchase an optional adapter, OnePlus bundles its proprietary charging solution with its flagship that supports Dash Charge out of the box. The proprietary technology by the Shenzhen-based company is a custom version of VOOC Flash Charge that Oppo showcased in February 2016. It is touted to charge a 2500mAh battery from 0 to 100 percent in 15 minutes flat.

Notably, Dash Charge is not only powering OnePlus 5T. The same technology is well available on the OnePlus 3, OnePlus 3T, and the recent OnePlus 5. However, since Tom’s Guide is comparing the latest flagships, the new OnePlus smartphone emerges as the leader.

Ambient Lock Screen Music is a Root App that Shows any Music on the Pixel 2’s Ambient Display

Google’s latest Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL flagships have an awesome new feature called “Now Playing.” Using a combination of software, hardware, and machine learning, the Pixel 2 uses an offline database to identify tens of thousands of songs playing in the background. It then displays those songs on your device’s lock screen, always on display, or as an ongoing notification. The feature sounds gimmicky on paper, but after using it myself I found that it works really well. That being said, this kind of feature isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so XDA Recognized Contributor Quinny899 came up with an app called Ambient Lock Screen Music which allows you to display the name and artist of any currently playing song on your device where the Now Playing text would normally appear.

As you can see in the video above, the developer enables the app and then starts playing a song from Google Play Music. When they show the lock screen, you can see the currently playing song at the bottom where you would normally see the Now Playing feature insert text when it recognizes a song.

The application only works on the Pixel 2/2 XL as it sends an intent whose corresponding intent receiver is only available in the SystemUIGoogle app present on the Pixel 2. Furthermore, the application requires root access in order to function. You can download the application from XDA Labs at the link below.

It is not only free, but it’s also totally ad-free as well. It supports displaying song titles/artists from almost any music app such as Google Play Music, Spotify, YouTube Red, and more. You can also blacklist apps from showing text on the ambient display. Finally, the app even allows you to double tap on the text shown on the ambient display to launch the music app.

We should note that this does not necessarily replace the Now Playing feature, though it may conflict with it. If Now Playing is enabled at the same time as this and you are listening to music while Now Playing is actively detecting a song, then whichever sends an intent to SystemUI the latest will show up on the ambient display. Regardless, Now Playing will still show a notification with whatever song it detected, so you won’t be missing out on the feature if you use Ambient Lock Screen Music.


How Ambient Lock Screen Music Works

The Intent

As mentioned previously, this application works by sending an intent to the SystemUIGoogle application. In Quinny899’s app, this is the code responsible for sending the intent:

Intent intent = new Intent("com.google.android.ambientindication.action.AMBIENT_INDICATION_SHOW").putExtra("com.google.android.ambientindication.extra.VERSION", 1).putExtra("com.google.android.ambientindication.extra.TEXT", broadcastString).putExtra("com.google.android.ambientindication.extra.TTL_MILLIS", time);
if(clickIntent != null)intent.putExtra("com.google.android.ambientindication.extra.OPEN_INTENT", clickIntent);
else if(packageName != null) intent.putExtra("com.google.android.ambientindication.extra.OPEN_INTENT", PendingIntent.getActivity(context, 1, context.getPackageManager().getLaunchIntentForPackage(packageName), 0));
intent.setPackage(pName);
context.sendBroadcast(intent, "com.google.android.ambientindication.permission.AMBIENT_INDICATION");

Let’s break this down some. The action in this intent is “com.google.android.ambientindication.action.AMBIENT_INDICATION_SHOW” and it has a few intent extras that can be sent with it.

The first extra is “com.google.android.ambientindication.extra.VERSION” which currently just takes an integer value of 1. The next extra is “com.google.android.ambientindication.extra.TEXT” which is where we set the string that we want displayed on the ambient display lock screen. The third extra is “com.google.android.ambientindication.extra.OPEN_INTENT” which accepts a PendingIntent that opens on a double tap of the text. Quinny899 set the PendingIntent to open up whatever application is playing music or a picker for android.intent.action.MUSIC_PLAYER.

Finally, in order to send this intent, the calling app must have the permission “com.google.android.ambientindication.permission.AMBIENT_INDICATION.” This permission is defined as signature|privileged so that is why this app requires root access.

If you want to test this on your own, you can open up a rooted terminal or ADB shell session and enter the following command:

am broadcast -a com.google.android.ambientindication.action.AMBIENT_INDICATION_SHOW --ei com.google.android.ambientindication.extra.VERSION 1 --es com.google.android.ambientindication.extra.TEXT "hello world"

This will display the text “hello world” on the ambient display. It won’t allow you to double click, however, as this command doesn’t set up a PendingIntent.

Displaying the Song

The app has two methods for capturing what song is being played. The first is through MediaController, which requires the app to be bound as a notification listener (though it doesn’t actually mean that the app is intercepting notifications to read the currently playing song). The second is through broadcast receivers which doesn’t require a notification listener (and thus consumes less memory) but is less compatible as some music apps do not send a broadcast intent that this app is set up for.

Other Applications

Using this same intent, you can set up an app or Tasker to send whatever text you want to the ambient display. This opens up new customization options that are entirely dependent on what you want to see. For instance, you can have the weather displayed in place of music.

Here’s how Google created those awesome Pixel 2 wallpapers

If you own a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, you might have noticed some of the more abstract-looking wallpapers in the “Come and play” section of the Wallpapers app. If you ever wondered how Google ever made those awesome wallpapers, wonder no more, as the search giant gave us a glimpse into what it takes to make them.

Designers Leta Sobierajski and Wade Jeffree are the individuals responsible for the new wallpapers, which were created using various hand-painted foam shapes, fishing line, and various backdrops. In other words, the wallpapers were not digitally drawn or created, though I’m sure computers were still use to process the images.

Check out these beautiful Google Pixel 2 XL wallpapers

According to the designers, they “loved the idea of working physically to create something digital.” Thankfully, the results are just as stunning as the idea, because no matter which of the nine wallpapers I pick, it looks awesome on my Pixel 2 XL. Even better, the wallpapers take the phone’s 18:9 display into consideration, filling all the corners with the different imagery.

It might seem like a silly thing to get excited over, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that every time wallpapers for a new smartphone are available, people get excited over them. It also helps that, from where I’m sitting, manufacturers seem to be putting more thought into what they want their wallpapers to look like. At this point, some people can differentiate between wallpapers made by Google, OnePlus, and Samsung.

As it pertains to the wallpapers seen in the video above, they are exclusive to the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Of course, some folks have likely uploaded these wallpapers to the internet, so I’m sure you’ll find them somewhere.

Android 8.1 DP2 fixes poor audio Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL experienced when recording video

One of the many issues the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have been revealed to have is poor audio while recording video. While we’re not sure if this affects all units, it definitely affected Artem’s, and I’ve noticed the problem in some videos I’ve shot as well on my Pixel 2 XL. Google has confirmed that the problem has been resolved in the second 8.1 Oreo developer preview, and we’ve got video samples from before and after to prove it.

The best way to demonstrate the fix is just for you guys to hear the difference. Here’s a sample of a recording taken on a Pixel 2 XL running Android 8.0 Oreo, taken by an owner named Jose Nieves:

And here’s a sample of the same clip taken on a Pixel 2 XL running Android 8.1 Oreo DP2:

The difference is as clear as night and day. Whereas the audio previously sounded muffled, almost like the phone was underwater, it’s perfectly clear in the second video. This is also corroborated by a reddit user, /u/ThisIsTechToday, who decided to make a full comparison regarding the changes in 8.1 DP2. Even further evidence can be found in this collection of videos shot by an owner named Eugene Monnier in his car of the same song playing.

I’m sure this amount of evidence is sufficient, especially since many of you had been experiencing the same issue since launch. We don’t know when this fix will hit the stable channel, but given how widespread this issue is, hopefully it’s sooner than later.

OnePlus 5T camera goes up against iPhone X, Pixel 2 XL, Galaxy S8

9cb47_oneplus-5t-product-4 OnePlus 5T camera goes up against iPhone X, Pixel 2 XL, Galaxy S8


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The lovely screen with skinny bezels is the most exciting update to the new OnePlus 5T, but the camera has seen some tweaks too. The telephoto lens we liked on the standard OnePlus 5 ($599.99 at Amazon.com) is gone, replaced with a 20-megapixel sensor that helps improve picture quality in low-light situations.

It provides depth information too, letting you snag those portrait shots with a DSLR-style depth-of-field effect. 

To see how the updated camera fares against the competition, I went out on a shoot armed with the 5T, the Samsung Galaxy S8 ($639.88 at Amazon.com), the Google Pixel 2 XL ($849.99 at Verizon Wireless) and the iPhone X ($999.00 at Apple)

9cb47_oneplus-5t-product-4 OnePlus 5T camera goes up against iPhone X, Pixel 2 XL, Galaxy S8

Below are example shots taken with the OnePlus 5T. You can use the slider to see how the 5T’s shot compares with those taken with the iPhone X. Below you’ll find links to see the same shot taken with the Pixel 2 XL and Galaxy S8 for comparison. Shots on all phones were taken in fully automatic mode and on the maximum available resolution.

Outdoor leaves

Google Pixel 2 XL comparison image

Samsung Galaxy S8 comparison image

The colours are great in this first outdoor example. There’s a satisfying richness to the warm-toned leaves on the ground and the 16-megapixel sensor provides plenty of detail when you zoom in. The iPhone X’s shot is a touch warmer, which suits the scene well, while the Pixel ($679.99 at Amazon.com) goes warmer still, which begins to look a bit over the top. 

Wide landscape

Google Pixel 2 XL comparison image

Samsung Galaxy S8 comparison image

There’s a great exposure balance in this wide scene overlooking London. The bright sky has been kept under control, with plenty of detail still visible in the shadowy areas below. All four phones did a great job capturing this shot with little to choose between them in terms of exposure. 

When you zoom in on the details, it’s clear that the S8’s image sharpening is working hard to give crisper edges than the others, while the Pixel seems to have missed the focus, resulting in a blurry-looking shot. The S8 has the richer colours too, particularly on the rich blue sky. 

That said, there’s very little difference between the 5T’s shot and the iPhone’s ($699.00 at Apple). That’s pretty remarkable, given the fact that at £449 in the UK, the 5T is less than half the price of the iPhone X. 

Portrait mode

Google Pixel 2 XL comparison image

Samsung Galaxy S8 comparison image

The dual lens setup on the 5T aims to produce great portraits with depth of field blur around the subject, but in this test, the phone was a bit of a letdown. The scene is dark, colours drab and with a white balance shift that leaves Carfection’s Drew Stearne looking overly pink. Poor guy. The iPhone X went too far the other way, correcting the white balance with a strong shift to warmer colours. I prefer the look of the iPhone, but it’s far from accurate. On the upside, the depth information provided by the dual lenses on both phones have given neat “cut outs” around Drew to accurately produce the background blur.

The Pixel’s shot is the best here in terms of lighting and colour, but the single lens means the blur effect is entirely simulated by the phone and it’s not as neatly done. The same goes for the S8, with noticeable patches of background around Drew that are in focus.

Selfies

Google Pixel 2 XL comparison image

Samsung Galaxy S8 comparison image

There’s a 16-megapixel camera on the front of the phone, which is a very healthy dose of pixels for a front camera. Despite that, the details in my face are very blurred when you look up close — almost as though the phone didn’t focus properly. It’s bright, but the highlights in the sky have been blown out and colours are a little drab overall. It’s a fine snap for Facebook, but I wouldn’t be excited to share this selfie with my friends. 

Both the iPhone and Pixel had automatic HDR modes on their front cameras, which helped balance the bright sky, resulting in clearer shots with better contrast and richer colours. They also have portrait effects on their selfie cameras, which we didn’t use to make sure that all four phones give consistent results. The S8’s shot burned out the sky altogether. 

In short, if you want a selfie phone, stick with the iPhone or Pixel. 

Low light, without flash

Google Pixel 2 XL comparison image

Samsung Galaxy S8 comparison image

All four phones captured well-lit shots in this low light scene. The 5T’s shot isn’t as bright as the Pixel 2 XL’s shot, but the white balance is more accurate than the iPhone X’s attempt — particularly on the book, which looks overly warm on the iPhone. 

Image noise is low in all four images and the 5T’s low-light improvements have resulted in a bright and sharp photo, despite the minimal lighting of the testing environment. 

Low light, with flash

Google Pixel 2 XL comparison image

Samsung Galaxy S8 comparison image

With the flash enabled it’s a different story. The background of the 5T’s shot has been overly darkened, losing detail in the back cushion altogether. All the objects in the scene are noticeably darker than the other phones achieved, in particular on the green tea box. 

The Pixel 2 XL’s shot, by comparison, is much brighter, with full detail being retained on the rear cushions and the fine details of the central plant. The iPhone X’s is again a touch on the warmer side, but it’s brighter than the 5T and S8’s shots overall. 

OnePlus 5T camera goes up against iPhone X, Pixel 2 XL, Galaxy S8

0f592_oneplus-5t-product-4 OnePlus 5T camera goes up against iPhone X, Pixel 2 XL, Galaxy S8


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The lovely screen with skinny bezels is the most exciting update to the new OnePlus 5T, but the camera has seen some tweaks too. The telephoto lens we liked on the standard OnePlus 5 ($599.99 at Amazon.com) is gone, replaced with a 20-megapixel sensor that helps improve picture quality in low-light situations.

It provides depth information too, letting you snag those portrait shots with a DSLR-style depth-of-field effect. 

To see how the updated camera fares against the competition, I went out on a shoot armed with the 5T, the Samsung Galaxy S8 ($639.88 at Amazon.com), the Google Pixel 2 XL ($849.99 at Verizon Wireless) and the iPhone X ($999.00 at Apple)

0f592_oneplus-5t-product-4 OnePlus 5T camera goes up against iPhone X, Pixel 2 XL, Galaxy S8

Below are example shots taken with the OnePlus 5T. You can use the slider to see how the 5T’s shot compares with those taken with the iPhone X. Below you’ll find links to see the same shot taken with the Pixel 2 XL and Galaxy S8 for comparison. Shots on all phones were taken in fully automatic mode and on the maximum available resolution.

Outdoor leaves

Google Pixel 2 XL comparison image

Samsung Galaxy S8 comparison image

The colours are great in this first outdoor example. There’s a satisfying richness to the warm-toned leaves on the ground and the 16-megapixel sensor provides plenty of detail when you zoom in. The iPhone X’s shot is a touch warmer, which suits the scene well, while the Pixel ($679.99 at Amazon.com) goes warmer still, which begins to look a bit over the top. 

Wide landscape

Google Pixel 2 XL comparison image

Samsung Galaxy S8 comparison image

There’s a great exposure balance in this wide scene overlooking London. The bright sky has been kept under control, with plenty of detail still visible in the shadowy areas below. All four phones did a great job capturing this shot with little to choose between them in terms of exposure. 

When you zoom in on the details, it’s clear that the S8’s image sharpening is working hard to give crisper edges than the others, while the Pixel seems to have missed the focus, resulting in a blurry-looking shot. The S8 has the richer colours too, particularly on the rich blue sky. 

That said, there’s very little difference between the 5T’s shot and the iPhone’s ($699.00 at Apple). That’s pretty remarkable, given the fact that at £449 in the UK, the 5T is less than half the price of the iPhone X. 

Portrait mode

Google Pixel 2 XL comparison image

Samsung Galaxy S8 comparison image

The dual lens setup on the 5T aims to produce great portraits with depth of field blur around the subject, but in this test, the phone was a bit of a letdown. The scene is dark, colours drab and with a white balance shift that leaves Carfection’s Drew Stearne looking overly pink. Poor guy. The iPhone X went too far the other way, correcting the white balance with a strong shift to warmer colours. I prefer the look of the iPhone, but it’s far from accurate. On the upside, the depth information provided by the dual lenses on both phones have given neat “cut outs” around Drew to accurately produce the background blur.

The Pixel’s shot is the best here in terms of lighting and colour, but the single lens means the blur effect is entirely simulated by the phone and it’s not as neatly done. The same goes for the S8, with noticeable patches of background around Drew that are in focus.

Selfies

Google Pixel 2 XL comparison image

Samsung Galaxy S8 comparison image

There’s a 16-megapixel camera on the front of the phone, which is a very healthy dose of pixels for a front camera. Despite that, the details in my face are very blurred when you look up close — almost as though the phone didn’t focus properly. It’s bright, but the highlights in the sky have been blown out and colours are a little drab overall. It’s a fine snap for Facebook, but I wouldn’t be excited to share this selfie with my friends. 

Both the iPhone and Pixel had automatic HDR modes on their front cameras, which helped balance the bright sky, resulting in clearer shots with better contrast and richer colours. They also have portrait effects on their selfie cameras, which we didn’t use to make sure that all four phones give consistent results. The S8’s shot burned out the sky altogether. 

In short, if you want a selfie phone, stick with the iPhone or Pixel. 

Low light, without flash

Google Pixel 2 XL comparison image

Samsung Galaxy S8 comparison image

All four phones captured well-lit shots in this low light scene. The 5T’s shot isn’t as bright as the Pixel 2 XL’s shot, but the white balance is more accurate than the iPhone X’s attempt — particularly on the book, which looks overly warm on the iPhone. 

Image noise is low in all four images and the 5T’s low-light improvements have resulted in a bright and sharp photo, despite the minimal lighting of the testing environment. 

Low light, with flash

Google Pixel 2 XL comparison image

Samsung Galaxy S8 comparison image

With the flash enabled it’s a different story. The background of the 5T’s shot has been overly darkened, losing detail in the back cushion altogether. All the objects in the scene are noticeably darker than the other phones achieved, in particular on the green tea box. 

The Pixel 2 XL’s shot, by comparison, is much brighter, with full detail being retained on the rear cushions and the fine details of the central plant. The iPhone X’s is again a touch on the warmer side, but it’s brighter than the 5T and S8’s shots overall. 

Google says that Pixel 2 random reboots may be fixed in Android 8.1 DP2

Lately, we’ve been hearing reports of Pixel 2s and Pixel 2 XLs randomly rebooting. Having your phone restart itself multiple times throughout the day is obviously pretty infuriating, and many were dissatisfied when they heard that this would be fixed ‘in the coming weeks.’ However, the issue may have already been resolved in Android 8.1 Oreo’s Developer Preview 2, according to a Google employee.

Here’s the latest response to the issue on Google’s Issue Tracker:

[email protected] [email protected] #38

We believe this issue is addressed in 8.1 which is now in preview and part of the public beta program. For more information see here https://developer.android.com/preview/download.html

As far as non beta uses, see https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/phone-by-google/RDQlJ36ODog
“We want to let you all know that we’ve identified a fix which will be rolling out in the coming weeks.”

You can see the exact response above, but the Google employee (you can tell from the ‘@google.com’ email) says that Google believes the issue has been addressed in 8.1 previews. However, we already know from the reader who tipped us onto the story that 8.1 DP1 did nothing for him, so it’s likely DP2 that is being referred to.

We still don’t have any concrete information on why this is occurring, though it does appear to be something with the kernel panicking from the modem based on other replies in the issue topic claiming that restricting the phone to 3G solved the reboot issues. If you’re still experiencing these random reboots, try installing Android 8.1 DP2 and let us know if they go away.

Google’s Pixel C tablet gets a little love in Android 8.1 preview with new launcher features from Pixel phones

Android just keeps getting better and better on phones, but Android tablets are very much neglected. There haven’t been any meaningful improvements to Android on tablets in years, but Google hasn’t totally forgotten them. In the latest Android 8.1 preview, the Pixel C tablet has gotten just a bit of attention.


76e9b_giftguide_schoon_13 Google's Pixel C tablet gets a little love in Android 8.1 preview with new launcher features from Pixel phones

The best gifts for Android users

A quick recap in case you’ve understandably forgotten, the Pixel C was Google’s last tablet release back in late 2015. It’s still the only tablet in the Google Store, even seeing major price cuts in some regions, and it’s also one of the few decent Android tablets available today, and the only one running Android Oreo.

Google has made a habit of quietly making changes to the Pixel C’s software to better align it with the Pixel smartphones, from adding new navigation buttons to a fresh launcher in previous updates. However, in this latest update, we simply get some new launcher features.

As Android Police notes, the Pixel Launcher on the C in the latest 8.1 developer preview brings a few features from the Pixel phones over to the tablet. That includes the redesigned “app shortcuts” menu that debuted on the original Pixel on Oreo, and we also get the ability to use changing icon shapes and toggle notification dots. Further, the app drawer now utilizes the full size of the tablet’s screen rather than being condensed to the center.

76e9b_giftguide_schoon_13 Google's Pixel C tablet gets a little love in Android 8.1 preview with new launcher features from Pixel phones 76e9b_giftguide_schoon_13 Google's Pixel C tablet gets a little love in Android 8.1 preview with new launcher features from Pixel phones 76e9b_giftguide_schoon_13 Google's Pixel C tablet gets a little love in Android 8.1 preview with new launcher features from Pixel phones

If you’re still using a Pixel C, you can check out these changes by either signing up for the Android 8.1 beta program, or by sideloading the launcher update.


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