mardi 28 août 2018

Google for India event: Tez is being renamed Google Pay, updates to Google Go, Search, Assistant, Maps, and more

google youtube gaming

At the annual Google for India event held in New Delhi on Tuesday, Google made many announcements. The first of them was that Google Tez is being renamed Google Pay. There were also announcements related to Google Assistant, Google Search, Android Go, Google Go, Google Maps, Google Station, and more. Let’s take a look at them one-by-one:

Google Tez becomes Google Pay

Google Tez is Google’s UPI-based payment platform in India. With the lack of NFC-based mobile payment solutions in the country, Google opted not to launch Google Pay (formerly known as Android Pay) in India, and instead launched a UP-based mobile payment system which is different from NFC-based payment systems. Tez has achieved a certain degree of success in India. In March, Tez had added a chat feature allowing users to communicate with their contacts while sending and receiving money. Now, it will be known as Google Pay.

Rich interactions are coming to Google Pay, and Google states that 15,000 retail stores will use Google Pay by Diwali this year. Businesses and merchants can also now pay for Google Ads using Google Pay. According to Google, over 1.2 million small businesses in India are already using Tez/Google Pay.

The company also announced that 22 million people now use Tez every month. A total of 750 million transactions have been made since its launch in September 2017.

The re-brand of Tez to Google Pay will complete in the next two weeks. Merchants will get the option to enable payments directly from their app, while customers can swipe the Pay button to pay their nearby merchants. An option to show a QR code will also be available to customers to customers to make seamless payments. The merchants will get transaction history on their app alongside customer details such as picture, name, the amount they have paid, as well as the transaction ID for each historical transaction.

Google also stated that over time, the company will bring many India-specific Tez features to Google Pay users in other countries just as the country has brought features launched elsewhere to India. All Tez features will remain in Google Pay.

Google Assistant

Google stated that Google Assistant usage in India has grown 3x over the past year. The Assistant is now available in Marathi, and the company is working on making it available in seven regional Indian languages soon. Users can also seamlessly switch between English and Hindi when talking with the Assistant. Google added that Airtel users will be able to view their cellular account’s data by asking the Assistant.

Google Home users will be able to speak to the smart speaker in Hindi.

Google Search updates in India

Voice search has grown by 270% year-over-year in India. Google Search itself has seen 50% year-over-year growth, and Google stated that it will now offer relevant results in regional languages. There will also be more Indian sources in the search results.

The Google Feed is now available in English and Hindi. It will also be available in Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, and Tamil in a few weeks.

In light of the fact that one of 35 searches in Google India are for the definition of a word, Google will now deliver definitions in both English and Hindi, and will deliver a pronunciation guide as well.

Google Go

The Google Go app will also get the Google Feed soon. It will be able to read out articles in regional languages, with each word getting highlighted in real-time. Users will also be able to adjust the speed settings.

Android Go

Google mentioned that the Samsung Galaxy J2 Core is Samsung’s first Android Go phone. Android Go now has 150 hardware partners, and 400 Android Go phones will arrive by the end of the year.

Google Maps

Google mentioned that Maps Go is getting turn-by-turn directions. The app’s homescreen will now have new shortcuts. Also, Maps will now get voice guidance in both English and Hindi. The two-wheeler mode in Maps is used by 20 million people in India every month, and over 50 million buildings have been added to Google Maps in India in 2018.

The company has also partnered with RedBus to offer better public transport information on Maps. Users will get info on ticket prices and timings of buses on over 20,000 routes across 1,500 cities thanks to the partnership.

Project Navlekha

Project Navlekha is an initiative by Google to work with over 100,000 offline publishers to bring regional language content online. The way it works is by using OCR to extract text from regional language PDFs and then publish it online on branded domains in under 60 seconds. The initiative comes in light of Google’s belief that regional language content will define the future of Internet in India.

Google Station

Google is partnering with Andhra Pradesh State FiberNet Limited to bring Google Station (public Wi-Fi hotspots using ) to over 12 thousand villages, towns, and cities across the state as a part of its Next Billion Users initiative. The company’s aim is to provide high-quality Internet access to remote areas in the state as well as public places like hospitals in cities like Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam.

Other announcements

Google stated that has pledged $1 million to several NGOs who are doing relief and recovery work in the flood-hit state of Kerala, in order to help the people in the affected regions.

from xda-developers

Realme 2 launched in India with 6.2″ notched display, Snapdragon 450, and dual cameras

Realme 2 dual rear cameras

The Realme 1 was launched on May 15 as Realme’s first smartphone. At that time, Realme was an online-only brand of OPPO. The Realme 1 provided a lot of value for its price, with its list of specifications including the MediaTek Helio P60 system-on-chip, 3GB/4GB/6GB of RAM with 32GB/64GB/128GB storage, 13MP rear camera, 8MP front-facing camera, and a 3,410mAh battery. Its starting 3GB RAM/32GB storage variant was sold for ₹8,990 ($127), which undercut all of its competitors.

Last month, Oppo’s Vice President resigned from the company to form Realme as an independent brand. The Realme 1 went on to become a success in India, with 400,000 units being sold in 40 days. Three months after the launch of the Realme 1 launch, the brand is back with the Realme 2. The Realme 2 was being teased for the last few weeks, and now, it has been officially announced. In terms of specifications, the phone is surprising as it actually makes a few significant downgrades when compared to its predecessor. Its full list of specifications is noted below:

Realme 2 – Specifications at a glance

Specifications Realme 2
Dimensions and weight 156.2 x 75.6 x 8.2 mm, 168g.
Software ColorOS 5.1 on top of Android 8.1 Oreo
SoC Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 (8x Arm Cortex-A53 cores @ 1.8GHz); Adreno 506 GPU
RAM and storage 3GB/4GB of RAM with 32GB/64GB of storage; dedicated microSD card slot
Battery 4,230mAh; 5V/2A charging
Display 6.2-inch HD+ (1520×720) IPS LCD with 19:9 aspect ratio, maximum brightness of 360 nits
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, Dual 4G VoLTE
Ports microUSB port, dual nano SIM slots, 3.5mm headphone jack
Sensors Accelerometer, ambient light sensor, back-mounted fingerprint sensor, proximity sensor
Bands GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
HSPA: 850/900/2100MHz
FDD-LTE: Bands 1/3/5/8
TDD-LTE: Bands 38/39/40/41
LTE-A Cat6 300/50Mbps
Rear camera 13MP primary camera with f/2.2 aperture
2MP depth sensing camera with f/2.4 aperture
Video recording up to 1080p at 30fps
Front-facing camera 8MP with f/2.2 aperture, 85-degree wide-angle lens

In terms of design, the Realme 2 is the first smartphone in India to adopt the notched display at a price point of less than ₹10,000. It also has a fingerprint sensor, which is a welcome upgrade over the Realme 1. The phone still has software-based face unlock as another unlock mechanism.

The Realme 2’s dual rear cameras are placed vertically at the top left on the back. Design and build quality is very similar to the Realme 1, with the same “diamond-cut” pattern and fibreglass construction.


The most significant downgrade made by the Realme 2 over the Realme 1 is the SoC. The Realme 1 featured the highly capable MediaTek Helio P60 SoC, which was a competitor to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636. The Realme 2, on the other hand, switches to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 SoC, which is a downgraded variant of the Snapdragon 625. The SoC is a significant step back as it doesn’t have a big core cluster, which means that CPU performance of the Realme 2 won’t even be close to the Realme 1. Even the Adreno 506 GPU is substantially slower than the Mali-G72MP3 GPU of the Helio P60.

The RAM and storage configurations of the Realme 2 are also inferior to the Realme 1. Whereas the Realme 1 had a top-end 6GB RAM/128GB storage variant, the Realme 2 caps out at 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage. The phone retains a dedicated microSD card slot (triple slot) that allows users to use two SIMs and a microSD card at the same time.


The Realme 2 has a 6.2-inch HD+ (1520×720) notched IPS LCD with a maximum brightness rating of 360 nits. The display resolution is another downgrade over the Realme 1, which featured a 5.99-inch Full HD+ (2160×1080) display. The 360 nits maximum brightness rating is also a bit low when compared to competitors that have displays as bright as 400+ nits.


The Realme 2 steps up to a dual rear camera setup, with a 13MP primary camera with f/2.2 aperture paired with a 2MP depth sensor that has a f/2.4 aperture. The front-facing camera remains at 8MP resolution with f/2.2 aperture, and it’s used for face unlock.

Pricing and availability

The Realme 2’s starting 3GB RAM/32GB storage variant will be available for ₹8,990 in India, while the 4GB RAM/64GB storage variant will cost ₹10,990. The phone will be available in Diamond Black and Diamond Red colors, while the Diamond Blue color will go on sale in early October. The first sale will be held on September 4 at 12PM IST.

Launch offers include ₹750 discount on HDFC Bank debit and credit card purchases, and “up to 120GB additional data” and “benefits worth up to ₹4,200” from Jio.

The Realme 2 will also be the first Realme smartphone to be available in additional markets. It will go on sale in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Realme 2 Pro launching in September

The Realme 2’s specifications are disappointing at first glance, as the phone has taken one step forward and two (no, make that three) steps backward over the Realme 1. Realme, however, is teasing another phone launch, the Realme 2 Pro, in India. It will be unveiled in September, and the “Pro” branding signifies higher-end specifications. The device will supposedly be “for those who want better offerings in a little bit higher price segments,” according to Realme.

Source: Flipkart

from xda-developers

lundi 27 août 2018

LG G7 One is LG’s first smartphone in the Android One program

LG G7 One and LG G7 Fit

IFA 2018 starts this week, and we expect to learn about new products from the likes of Sony, Huawei, LG, and others. Ahead of the event, LG has decided to announce two new products that they’ll be showcasing during the event: the LG G7 One and the LG G7 Fit. Both devices have “Boombox Speakers,” IP68 rating, and meet the MIL-STD 810G durability standard. Both devices differ pretty significantly from the standard LG G7 in areas such as the choice of SoC and camera sensors, although they are similar to the standard G7 in other aspects such as featuring notched LCDs and retaining the 3.5mm headphone jacks. Here are the specifications for both devices.

LG G7 One

LG G7 One

The LG G7 One happens to be LG’s first smartphone in the Android One program, interestingly. That means, unlike the LG V35 ThinQ or LG G7 ThinQ, the LG G7 One will be running a stock build of Android. Devices in the Android One program should also get monthly security patches fairly quickly when compared to non-Android One devices.

The G7 One comes with Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box. When compared to the regular LG G7 ThinQ, it sports last year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip rather than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. That means it’ll cost less than the standard G7, but we won’t know about the exact pricing or availability details until LG’s event. You can view the rest of the specifications below.

Specification LG G7 One
Dimensions and Weight 153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9mm


Display 6.1-inch QHD+ (3120 x 1440 @ 564ppi) 19.5:9 notched FullVision Super Bright IPS display
CPU/GPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 with Adreno 540 GPU
Storage 32GB UFS 2.1 expandable up to 2TB microSD
Battery 3,000 mAh with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
Rear Camera(s) 16MP rear camera with f/1.6 aperture, 71° wide-angle lens, and LED flash
Front Camera(s) 8MP front camera with f/1.9 aperture, 80° wide-angle lens
Software Android 8.1 Oreo (Android One)
Audio 3.5mm headphone jack, 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC, DTS:X, Boombox Speaker
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth 5.0 BLE, NFC, GPS, 4G LTE, FM radio
Ports/Buttons USB 2.0 Type-C, Google Assistant button
Security Fingerprint scanner (rear)
Protection IP68 (waterproof and dustproof), MIL-STD 810G certified
Colors New Aurora Black, New Moroccan Blue

LG G7 Fit

LG G7 Fit


The LG G7 Fit, on the other hand, sports the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 system-on-chip. That’s a 2-year-old SoC, but LG claims that the price on this model should be even lower than the LG G7 One. Since this model isn’t in the Android One program, it’ll be running Android 8.1 Oreo customized with LG UX. Unlike the G7 One and the standard G7, the LG G7 Fit won’t have a dedicated Google Assistant button. We’ll learn more details about the device during LG’s event. You can view the rest of the specifications below.

Specification LG G7 Fit
Dimensions and Weight 153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9mm


Display 6.1-inch QHD+ (3120 x 1440 @ 564ppi) 19.5:9 notched FullVision Super Bright IPS display
CPU/GPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 with Adreno 530 GPU
Storage 32/64GB UFS 2.1 expandable up to 2TB microSD
Battery 3,000 mAh with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
Rear Camera(s) 16MP rear camera with f/2.2 aperture, 76° wide-angle lens, LED flash
Front Camera(s) 8MP front camera with f/1.9 aperture, 80° wide-angle lens
Software Android 8.1 Oreo with LG UX
Audio 3.5mm headphone jack, 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC, DTS:X, Boombox Speaker
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.2 LE, NFC, GPS, 4G LTE, FM radio
Ports/Buttons USB 2.0 Type-C
Security Fingerprint scanner (rear)
Protection IP68 (waterproof and dustproof), MIL-STD 810G certified
Colors New Platinum Gray, New Aurora Black

Source: LG Newsroom (Korean)

from xda-developers

Webpage reading feature now rolling out in Google Go

google account

As Google has evolved over the years, their goal has been to give people all the information they can offer through their services. Naturally, this is due to Google being the best online search engine around. Some reports have said that Google has captured over 90% of the online search engine market. So, of course, they can give the broad example of saying they want everyone to have access to information. However, they aren’t resting on their laurels as the company continues to innovate and add new features. Back in July, the company teased a feature for the Google Go app that would let the app read the web page for you. Now, we’re seeing reports that it’s starting to roll out to the public.

The feature in question was first announced just last month as Google was showing their progress of making the online experience better for those who live in Nigeria. Their announcement covered the progress the company has made including adding Google Stations which will offer Wi-Fi networks to 200 cities in Nigeria by 2019. The company recently launched their new job search feature that they have worked on in Nigeria. So citizens here have been able to use this feature, but Google says they are expanding it to 32 more countries in Africa. Google Maps Go is getting navigation features so that it will even work on low memory devices.

Google Go


The company actually launched Google Go back in April of this year and it’s very clear they are adding some exciting features to the application. We all know how slow Google can be when it comes to their phased rollouts of new applications, but we are now starting to see reports that the update is rolling out. If you do a search in the Google Go app on an Android Go edition device and then tap on an article, you’ll see a play button surrounded by Google’s theme colors. Tap on that and the Google Go application will begin to read the article for you. If you think the reading is taking too long, you can change the speed just as the image above indicates.

Thanks @Goutham3113

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Xiaomi Mi A2 & Mi A2 Lite kernel source code now available

The Xiaomi Mi A2 and Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite were released nearly a month ago. Both of them are part of the Android One program, which means they offer a stock Android experience unlike Xiaomi’s other smartphones running MIUI. The Xiaomi Mi A2 is a mid-ranger with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, 4/6GB RAM, and 3,000 mAh battery. The Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite, however, is a budget device with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, 3/4GB RAM, and an oddly beefier 4,000 mAh battery compared to its counterpart. Both of the devices run Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box.

You know what would make these great phones even greater? Good developer support, which is definitely on the way. Xiaomi just released the kernel source code for the both of the devices. This means that custom recoveries like TWRP, custom kernels, and custom AOSP-based ROMs can be built for the devices. Having access to kernel source code doesn’t necessarily mean the devices will have great custom development support, but given the immense popularity of Xiaomi’s budget and mid-range devices, there’s little doubt in our minds that both devices won’t have access to a variety of custom ROMs.

Xiaomi has often made users wait for many months to release the kernel source code, but they’ve improved in recent months. After making users wait months for the Xiaomi Mi A1’s kernel source code, the company reconfirmed to us their commitment to releasing kernel source code in a timely manner. They released the kernel source code for the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S rather quickly, and even promise to release the kernel source code for the Xiaomi Poco F1 on launch day.

You can download the kernel source code for the Mi A2 and Mi A2 Lite respectively from the links below.

Xiaomi Mi A2 Kernel Source Code

Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite Kernel Source Code

from xda-developers

Android TV in 2019: Industry trends moving forward

android tv

Android TV boxes have a lot of potential, but thanks to the mishandling by device manufacturers they may soon be outclassed by competitors. However, Google isn’t giving up just yet. In a panel consisting of leading experts from Google and Think Analytics hosted by Accedo at Broadcast Asia, we got to have a closer look at trends and recent developments affecting Android TV as a platform.

Android TV going into 2019

Reduced costs and time to market

Android TV has matured in a lot of ways over the years, and as a platform, it beats out traditional set-top boxes with the ability to be a whole lot more personal. It can integrate with many different services, and the addition of features such as voice search allows for greater opportunities down the line. As it stands, the price for an OEM to launch an Android TV box is down 60% over what it used to be a little over a year ago thanks to work done by Google to help keep costs down. These optimizations have helped bring down costs, the “time to market” for OEMs is also drastically reduced which makes launching an Android TV set-top box a lot more compelling. Receiving certification can take only 4-6 weeks to complete, and Cast integration is a lot quicker now too. Google is also working to try to find new revenue streams for device manufacturers who wish to enter the market.

Interestingly, it is also mentioned that one of the first manufacturers to take up Android TV has managed to use data analytics to offer users channels that they may want. It is apparently very successful at the moment and has drastically increased revenue from the platform for the unnamed company.

Upcoming platform features

“Voice is not just for media discovery and control,” is a great way to start this section. The Google Assistant is its own platform, it’s not just a voice control means to an end. It’s an open platform which developers can use to add voice functionality to any Android-based application. It’s not just about ordering taxis and food delivery, there are a lot more practical uses as well. A lot more Android TV devices are going to be coming out with a far-field microphone in the near future, which will allow you to call up the Google Assistant without even needing a remote anymore. It will be equivalent to a Google Home.

And that’s not all. The Google Assistant can actually be used for OEMs as well to help reduce the amount of time spent giving support. What if you could offload a huge amount of that to the Assistant? Technical questions and such can all be handled immediately – without needing to deal with wait times for a call center. Over-voice commerce and integration with your phone are also mentioned, which again will simply aim to make troubleshooting and support easier for the end-user.

In terms of other features, there will be a lot more languages coming to Google Assistant in the Fall. USB video camera integration is also being worked on as a standard feature of Android Pie.

Project Treble and Android TV

First and foremost, the cutoff date for new devices launching with Android Oreo will be December 15th. That means that any set-top boxes launching after that must launch with Android Oreo. That not only ensures that users will get the latest and greatest features Android has to offer, but that they will all have Treble compliant devices. Treble has made development a whole lot easier for engineers working on these TV boxes, and as such the time for devices to update should be a whole lot faster.

Android TV going forward

It’s clear that the platform has matured a lot and a huge amount of changes are already on their way. While at first it may have seemed that Google was neglecting Android TV, there are new features and improvements being worked on every day. Interestingly, Google appears to be focusing a whole lot more on the enterprise capabilities of the platform – not just the personal, daily use of a normal customer. We’ll be keeping an eye out for these (and more) upcoming changes.

from xda-developers

YouTube gets Digital Wellbeing tools, shows time spent watching videos

Google announced Digital Wellbeing tools at Google I/O 2018. Today, they decided to add some of these tools to the YouTube application. I discovered the “Time watched” category when I was doing my daily routine of checking if the dark mode is available for me (it’s unfortunately not). The category can be found under your account, which is located at the top right corner.

After taping on Time watched, YouTube didn’t hesitate to show me how productive my weekend was. You can see how much time you spent on watching videos today, yesterday, or last week. It can also calculate the daily average. Fortunately, you can also let YouTube remind you to take a break in your desired frequency.

Scheduled digest has also moved to the same page. It still can be found under the Notifications category in Settings, but it’s still nice to see all Digital Wellbeing tools together. If you don’t already know, Scheduled Digest shows you only one notification a day from your subscriptions. Digital Wellbeing tools also include disabling sounds and vibrations. It was activated for me by default.

As you may have already noticed, I was in a desperate need of these tools. I don’t know if I can resist tapping “dismiss” every time I get a “take a break” pop-up, but it will definitely prevent me from binge-watching 10 hours worth of videos. The feature is activated server-side, so you don’t have to download an APK or wait for some magical update, unlike the dark mode.

Via: Official YouTube Blog

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Use the Power of AI to Learn a New Language with Mondly

Learning a new language is one of the best things you can do to keep your brain active and healthy. It also makes traveling to your favorite foreign destination far more enjoyable. But most people who try learning a new language give up far too soon, since the most popular language-learning platforms rely on antiquated techniques that utilize monotonous and boring word repetition.

Mondly offers a far more efficient and enjoyable path to learning a new language, and a lifetime subscription is available for over 90% off at $69.99.

Mondly’s revolutionary approach to language education uses state-of-the-art speech recognition technology to listen to your words and phrases and offers positive feedback if you’re on the right track. This means you can focus on your weak spots without wasting time going over the elements of the language you’ve already mastered.

You’ll also benefit from Mondly’s growing roster of professional voice actors, a verb conjugator, and recorded conversations between native speakers in the language of your choice.

Your lifetime subscription lets you choose five languages from a sweeping list of options that includes English, Afrikaans, Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, and more.

Don’t give up on learning your dream language. A lifetime subscription to Mondly is available for just $69.99—over 90% off its usual price.

from xda-developers

Xiaomi Pocophone F1 launches globally in 65 countries

Xiaomi Pocophone F1, Xiaomi Poco F1

The Xiaomi Pocophone F1 definitely turned some heads of enthusiasts and regular customers. The reason is this sub-$300 phone has some top of the line specs, like Snapdragon 845, 6GB/8GB RAM, 64/128/256GB internal storage, 4,000 mAh battery, and a lot more. Some even called it the OnePlus killer as it’s more affordable. Xiaomi Poco F1 launched in India on the 22nd of August. Today, Xiaomi announced the global availability of the device, in a total of 65 countries.

Unfortunately, for some of the readers, the Pocophone will not be available in the US or Canada. Liliputing was kind enough to provide the price of the phone in different markets. Even though some of them are about 25% more expensive than the original price, Poco F1 still keeps the spot in the sub-300 market. Here is the price breakdown in different markets:

  • €329 (~$380) and up in France
  • 2,800 (~$360) HKD and up in Hong Kong
  • 17,990 PHP (~340) and up in the Philippines
  • 4,499,000 IDR (~$310) and up in Indonesia
  • 1,237 MYR ($~300) and up in Malaysia

If you’re interested in the country availability, the POCOPHONE Global Twitter account posted it earlier today. As you see from the photo below, US and Canada didn’t get any love. This is not the first time for the Chinese manufacturer to leave them out, whether it’s their choice or not.

Xiaomi Poco F1 ticks a lot of boxes for a lot of people. The phone features the latest top of the line specs, wide availability, affordable price tag, and lot more. But, as many phones in 2018, it’s not perfect. It has a big notch and lacks NFC and OIS. These features are rarely used in developing countries like India and others, so that’s probably why Xiaomi cheaped out on them.

Still, if you’re looking for a device that looks and feels like a flagship, but has a very low price, the Xiaomi Pocophone F1 is a hard to beat option.

Source: POCOPHONE Global

from xda-developers

Language Navi translates foreign language apps without root [Giveaway]

Language Navi

Have you ever found a cool application that you wished was available in your own language? If your answer is yes, Language Navi has your back. The app helps you translate any application to any language that Google Translate supports. It works on-the-fly and you don’t need root or any kind of system modifications. It just uses built-in accessibility settings in the Android OS, plus some OCR (Optical Character Recognition) magic to recognize the text and Google Translate to translate it.

XDA Junior Member tachibanalab released the app on Play Store about a month ago. It is absolutely free, but if you want to remove ads and unlock some advanced features (that the developer is working on), you’ll have to pay $2.99. Lucky for you, we have a 100 free promo codes to give away.

Since the initial release of the app, it has gained some new features. First of all, it now supports Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Originally, the app only worked on Android 8.0 Oreo and above. It’s good that the developer managed to backport the features. The application now also has 11 new languages, as well as various major and minor bug fixes. Language Navi’s Pro version can be bought via in-app purchase. It should be noted that the developer used XDA Translators group to translate the application into various languages.

The promo codes will be posted in the comments every five minutes or so. To redeem a code, go to the Play Store, open the menu and select “Redeem.” Paste in the code to get the app. Good luck!

Language Navi - Translator (Free+, Google Play) →

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Google Pixel 3 may be officially unveiled on October 9th

Google Pixel 3 XL Clearly White

While pretty much everything about the Pixel 3 XL is out in the open, we don’t actually know when it (or its smaller variant) will be announced. Many assumed that for the third year in a row we’d be seeing an October 4th launch, but a report from Bloomberg actually suggests that to be incorrect. According to the report, Google intends to launch the new Google Pixel devices at a media event in New York City on October 9th. Previously, the Pixel devices were launched in San Francisco.

Given that it’s Bloomberg, there’s no real reason to doubt the report. That’s not all we expect to see announced at the time, either. According to WinFuture, we could well be seeing the introduction of not one, not two, but three new Google Pixel smartwatches. Interestingly, they’re set to launch only a short while after the next Snapdragon Wear OS chip is set to release as well. Alongside those as well, notable leaker Evleaks has said that we may also see the introduction of a Pixelbook 2018 edition. While we don’t know a lot about the Pixelbook launching this year, we can make some guesses as to what its specifications may be.

With the cat out of the bag in terms of everything related to the Google Pixel 3 XL, it’s not as if the company can really give us any more surprises. Obviously, the smaller Pixel 3 hasn’t been leaked anywhere yet, but it’s expected like always to be the same specs – just smaller. The change of location from San Francisco to New York is sort of interesting, along with the change of launch date from previous years. We’ll be keeping an eye out to see if any other information regarding the new Pixels comes up, and we’ll be sure to let you know.

Source: Bloomberg

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Win a OnePlus 6 from RhinoShield

RhinoShield is teaming up with XDA to offer our readers a chance to win a new OnePlus 6 phone. RhinoShield is heavily focused on offering the best protective solutions for the OnePlus 6 with their SolidSuit, CrashGuard, and Screen Protector products. We recently got a hands-on look at their product line-up that you can check out here.

Win a OnePlus 6 from RhinoShield!

CrashGuard Bumper for OnePlus 6

SolidSuit Case for OnePlus 6


Shop RhinoShield
We thank RhinoShield for sponsoring this post. Our sponsors help us pay for the many costs associated with running XDA, including server costs, full time developers, news writers, and much more. While you might see sponsored content (which will always be labeled as such) alongside Portal content, the Portal team is in no way responsible for these posts. Sponsored content, advertising and XDA Depot are managed by a separate team entirely. XDA will never compromise its journalistic integrity by accepting money to write favorably about a company, or alter our opinions or views in any way. Our opinion cannot be bought.

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How to remap Bixby 2.0 on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Bixby 2.0

Samsung released Bixby 2.0 with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Bixby 2.0 made promises of being way better than Bixby 1.0 which launched last year with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. I have been using the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 for a few days and in my view, Bixby 2.0 is basically the same as 1.0 but missing some features I liked. So like any sane human being, I found a way to remap it. Below are instructions on how to install and use the two best remapping apps for Bixby 2.0 on the Galaxy Note 9.

Remap Bixby 2.0 on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Option 1: Button Mapper

Button Mapper: Remap your keys (Free+, Google Play) →

Button Mapper lets you remap any button on your phone, but specifically for our purposes, it lets you remap the Bixby button on the Galaxy Note 9. This app is more reliable than option two, but it does have one downside. You need to run the script every time you reboot your phone. You can follow the tutorial below to set it up.

  1. Install Button Mapper from the Google Play Store.
  2. Set up ADB on your computer. You can follow this guide to get it installed.
  3. Enable ADB by going to Settings > About Phone > Software Information and tap build number 7 times. Once you do this enter your password and go back twice. You can enter the developer options menu now. Just toggle the USB Debugging switch to enable ADB.
  4. Open the Button Mapper app, at the bottom of the window, there will be a popup asking you to enable accessibility services. You then just enable accessibility services for Button Mapper.
  5. Select the Bixby Button option at the top of the app. Then click the customize button. Once you do this you will need to run the following commands:
    adb shell sh /data/data/flar2.homebutton/

    And then

    adb shell sh /data/data/flar2.homebutton/ -d
  6. You will need to run this second command every time you reboot your phone. This will also disable Bixby Voice. If you don’t disable Bixby Voice, it will open every time you press the button along with what you have it remapped to. You can re-enable Bixby Voice with the following command:
    adb shell sh /data/data/flar2.homebutton/ -e.
  7. You select whatever option you want to use in the single tap and long press menus. You can set it to do things like open Google Assistant or toggle the flashlight. Remap Bixby 2.0 on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Remap Bixby 2.0 on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9

This app seems to be a bit better in use because it disables Bixby Voice and remaps it. The downside is that you will have to run the ADB command every time you reboot your phone. If you don’t want to have to run the command every time you reboot your phone, option 2 will be for you.

Option 2: bxActions

bxActions - Bix Button Remapper (Free+, Google Play) →

bxActions is an app that has been doing Bixby remapping since the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8+ launched last year. This app is pretty reliable for remapping Bixby on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, but Bixby Voice is still installed so there could be some compatibility issues with that. The developer is actively developing the app so if you do find any bugs, you should expect them to be fixed.

  1. Join the open beta for bxActions then install the app.
  2. Install ADB on your computer. You can follow this guide to get it installed.
  3. Enable ADB by going to Settings > About Phone > Software Information and tap build number 7 times. Once you do this enter your password and go back twice. You can enter the developer options menu now. Just toggle the USB debugging switch to enable ADB.
  4. Open bxActions and follow the prompts to give it the permissions it needs.
  5. Select the Bix button options and click the red box that says “please unlock permissions using a PC”
  6. Run the two commands:
    adb shell pm grant com.jamworks.bxactions android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS
    adb shell pm grant com.jamworks.bxactions android.permission.READ_LOGS
  7. Once you do this close and reopen the app.
  8. You can now select the option you want to use to remap the Bixby button on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. This app has actions like Google Assistant and the flashlight toggle as well.
Remap Bixby 2.0 on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Remap Bixby 2.0 on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9

This app does work well, but it’s not always as reliable as Button Mapper in my experience. It has the great upside of only needing to be enabled once. You don’t even need to run the adb command, but it does make the app faster and more reliable. This app is by no means bad—I would say it’s probably the best for its function. Just sometimes, I have found it to be unreliable on my Galaxy Note 9.

What remapping Bixby on the Galaxy Note 9 lets you do

Button Mapper lets you remap the Bixby button on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 to either a long press or a single press. Once you do this you can remap it to one of the actions in the list below. There are also options for Zello, which is a walkie-talkie app. There are Pro options for disabling Bixby when locked and vibration on button press.

  • Default
  • Home
  • Back
  • Recent apps
  • Show menu
  • Last app
  • Turn the screen off
  • Toggle flashlight
  • Power dialog
  • Screenshot
  • Split screen
  • Tasker intent
  • Do not disturb
  • Toggle silent/vibration
  • Mute volume
  • Mute microphone
  • Volume +
  • Volume –
  • Previous track
  • Next track
  • Play/Pause
  • Scroll up
  • Scroll down
  • Copy
  • Paste
  • Kill foreground app
  • Quick settings
  • Notifications
  • Clear notifications
  • Brightness +
  • Brightness –
  • Toggle auto brightness
  • Toggle BlueTooth
  • Toggle WiFi
  • Toggle portrait
  • Change keyboard
  • Open URL
  • Zello PTT (Pro only)
  • Search
  • Assistant
  • Open any application

bxActions has options for both a single press and long press, along with a long press on the lock screen. The long press and long press on lock screen both require the pro mode to be unlocked for $3. You can remap the Bixby button on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 to the actions below.

  • Disable Bixby
  • Enable Bixby
  • Home
  • Back
  • Phone (dialer)
  • Camera
  • Launch application
  • Launch shortcut action
  • Launch Tasker task (Pro)
  • Google Now
  • Google assistant
  • Google assistant extra (supports direct speech input and “whats on my screen” action
  • Media play/pause
  • Media next
  • Volume up
  • Volume down
  • Do not disturb (silent)
  • Sound mode (Sound, vibrate, silent)
  • Sound mode iOS (Sound, vibrate) (Pro)
  • Task manager
  • Power menu
  • Notification center
  • Settings tray
  • Toggle auto rotation
  • Toggle split screen (Pro)
  • Flashlight (system)
  • Flashlight (extra power)
  • Take screenshot
  • Fullscreen on/off
  • Fullscreen for the current app
  • Cancel all and mark all notifications as read (Pro)
  • Mark as read (Pro)
  • Heads-up notifications on/off (Pro)
  • Take a screenshot with Samsung Capture (Pro and root)

In my opinion, Bixby 2.0 is not that great on the Galaxy Note 9. Luckily for us, we have amazing developers who also agree with this and work on apps to remap it to more useful features, like Google Assistant.

from xda-developers

Unofficial TWRP and first custom ROM available for the Exynos Samsung Galaxy Note 9

samsung galaxy note 9 wallpaper

The kernel sources were released just a couple of days ago for the Exynos Samsung Galaxy Note 9, the phone which I’ve previously called “slightly better at everything than the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.” We knew the arrival of TWRP and custom ROMs for this particular device would be coming soon, and here are just the first we’ve seen.

XDA Senior Member geiti94 just posted an unofficial TWRP for the Galaxy Note 9. The recovery is only available for the Exynos variants of the Galaxy Note 9. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip are in no way supported. The XDA forum thread claims that recovery has no bugs at all, but make sure to report them if you find any. The device tree and kernel sources are also available in the thread.

There is also a custom ROM available already, courtesy of XDA Recognized Developer/Recognized Contributor dr.ketan. The custom ROM is based on the official Android 8.1 Oreo release with Samsung Experience 9.5, but it has additional features like an optional Magisk root in AROMA installer, Good Lock 2018 with all of its features, SystemUI mods, and more. It’s a stock-based ROM with some added goodies, so it’s perfect for those who want to take advantage of all the features that the Note 9 offers, but with a bit more customizability. Make sure to visit the thread and read it all by yourself. The flashing instructions can be found in the first reply.

If you are lucky enough to already have a Samsung Galaxy Note 9, you can start playing around with it. Just make sure to read every instruction carefully to avoid possibly bricking your brand new device. Also, keep in mind that in most countries rooting your device, or just unlocking the bootloader, voids the warranty. Happy flashing.

Download unofficial TWRP for the Exynos Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Dr.Ketan’s ROM for the Exynos Samsung Galaxy Note 9

from xda-developers

New LG V40 renders show off the design from all angles

lg v40

LG is expected to announce the LG V40 soon enough if the huge amount of leaks recently are any indication of anything. Not only have we gotten a sneak peak at what the device will look like, we know a large amount of the specifications it will launch with as well. The LG V40 has been pretty much blown open, and if the leaked front and back renders weren’t enough for you to get a full look at the device, then you’re in luck. Thanks to a leak from Slashleaks in tandem with OnLeaks, we’re getting to see a full 360-degree video showing all angles of the LG V40.  What’s more, a set of 5k renders have also been released as well.

The LG V40

In case you didn’t trust previous renders, this is yet another leak which corroborates the fact that LG’s newest flagship will feature 5 cameras. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of an OEM doing that, though, as Samsung is set to do the same early next year. That’s three cameras on the back and two on the front. It’s assumed as a result that LG is putting a lot of work into the cameras on the V40. The camera market is getting increasingly competitive as time goes on, so that’s really not a surprise whatsoever. We also see the inclusion of the headphone jack, which is great given the ongoing trend of device manufacturers removing it. A USB-C port is also present, which is to be expected.

In terms of other design choices, it’s noted that the LG V40 will have a 6.3-inch notched display. The notch doesn’t look too intrusive in the video, but it may look worse in person. These are just CAD renders after all. The dimensions of the device come in at 158.8 x 75.8 x 7.8mm (8.2mm camera bump included). It’s a good bit larger than the V30 in nearly every aspect, but that’s not too bad given that it shouldn’t be abnormally large. The V30 came in at 151.7 x 75.4 x 7.4mm, so it’s not as if it’s a whole lot smaller or anything. We’ll have to wait and see how the LG V40 looks in-hand before passing any judgment on whether it’s too large or not.

from xda-developers

Google Play Games tests new leaderboard design & other UI changes

Google Play Games

Google is testing a new user interface for the Google Play Games leaderboard and multiplayer window.  The menus are getting the new Material Theme interface that has been rolling out to apps. This adds the new light color design and updated font.

This was enabled by XDA Recognized Developer Quinny898, a.k.a. Kieron Quinn of Mighty Quinn Apps. He was able to enable this in his own game using the newest Google Play Games release. Google Play Games itself has had the new Material Theme update since November of last year. This is the first time we have seen this update in the leaderboard, multiplayer, and achievement user interface. These now all have the Material Theme UI in their respective windows.

The UI is now all white with a green accent color, this is the same as the design of the main app. This also matches the other redesigned parts of the app, which Quinny898 was able to find. This update doesn’t add any new features to Google Play Games or the plugins features in games. It simply brings the app in line with Google’s other redesigned apps.

Google is slowly updating most of their apps with this new interface. Android Messages has this interface. The Google Contacts, Google Phone, Google Fit, Google News, Google OneGoogle Pay, Google Home, and Google Maps apps also have this new interface. They all have been updated since Google I/O 2018 when Google announced this new design.

We are not sure when this update for Google Play Games will be officially available as Quinny898 did have to do a lot of work to get this enabled for his game. It should be soon though as the UI does look very complete.

from xda-developers

dimanche 26 août 2018

Xiaomi Poco F1, Nokia 6.1 Plus, Samsung Galaxy Note 9/Tab S4, & Xperia XZ2 support ARCore

Google ARCore

ARCore is a platform by Google that is used by developers to add augmented reality features to their applications. Google Camera has used ARCore for AR Stickers, for instance. The list of supported ARCore devices keeps growing. Earlier this month, a bunch of new devices got ARCore support including the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, Huawei Nova 3, Xiaomi Mi 8 SE, Sony Xperia X, and a lot more. Now, 7 more devices like the Xiaomi Poco F1, Nokia 6.1 Plus, Samsung Galaxy Note 9, Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, and the Xperia XZ2 line support Google’s AR platform.

About three days ago, Google updated the official ARCore supported devices list (via AndroidPolice). These newly supported devices are:

  • Xiaomi Poco F1
  • Nokia 6.1 Plus
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
  • Sony Xperia XZ2
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium

It’s good to see that Google keeps expanding the list of devices of which users can play around with augmented reality apps. Here is the updated list of all devices that currently support ARCore.

ARCore Supported Devices

Device Notes
Asus Zenfone AR
Asus Zenfone ARES
Google Nexus 5X Requires Android 8.0 or later
Google Nexus 6P Requires Android 8.0 or later
Google Pixel
Google Pixel XL
Google Pixel 2
Google Pixel 2 XL
Nokia 6 (2018) Also known as Nokia 6.1
Nokia 6.1 Plus
Nokia 7 Plus
Nokia 8 Requires Android 8.0 or later
Nokia 8 Sirocco
Honor 10
Huawei Nova 3
Huawei Nova 3i
Huawei P20
Huawei P20 Pro
Huawei Porsche Design Mate RS
LG G6 Requires Android 8.0 or later
LG G7 ThinQ
LG V30 Requires Android 8.0 or later
LG V30+ Requires Android 8.0 or later
LG V30+ JoJo Requires Android 8.0 or later
LG V35 ThinQ
Moto G5S Plus
Moto G6
Moto G6 Plus
Moto X4 Requires Android 8.0 or later
Moto Z2 Force
Moto Z3
Moto Z3 Play
OnePlus 3T Requires Android 8.0 or later
OnePlus 5
OnePlus 5T
OnePlus 6
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
Samsung Galaxy A6 (2018)
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
Samsung Galaxy A8+ (2018)
Samsung Galaxy Note8
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Samsung Galaxy S7
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung Galaxy S8+
Samsung Galaxy S9
Samsung Galaxy S9+
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
Sony Xperia XZ Premium Requires Android 8.0 or later
Sony Xperia XZ1 Requires Android 8.0 or later
Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact Requires Android 8.0 or later
Sony Xperia XZ2 Requires Android 8.0 or later with software update after Aug 2018 (security patch level 2018-08-05 or later)
Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact Requires Android 8.0 or later with software update after Aug 2018 (security patch level 2018-08-05 or later)
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium Requires Android 8.0 or later with software update after Aug 2018 (security patch level 2018-08-05 or later)
Vivo NEX A
Vivo NEX S
Xiaomi Mi 8
Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S
Xiaomi Pocophone F1

You can download ARCore from the link below as well as a sample app to try augmented reality on your device.

ARCore by Google (Free, Google Play) →

Just a Line - Draw Anywhere, with AR (Free, Google Play) →

Check out the official introduction video from Google to understand what the feature looks like in use.


from xda-developers

Google Camera ports work without root on the Poco F1, Mi 8, and Mix 2S

google camera gcam tool 2.0

Google Camera ports have been very popular on our forums after we first reported on them. Ported Google Camera apps are used for dramatically improving picture quality on many devices thanks to Google’s Portrait Mode and HDR+ technologies. As some of you may already know, Google Camera requires Camera2 API support to work. Most Xiaomi devices lack Camera2 API support out-of-the-box. To activate the API, most Xiaomi users need to at least unlock the bootloader to run a fastboot command if not root their devices to modify build.prop. For the Xiaomi Poco F1, Xiaomi Mi 8 series, and Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, that’s not necessary.

Xiaomi devices with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 system-on-chips have Camera2 API support enabled by default. This means that, to install Google Camera ports on these devices, you don’t have to unlock the bootloader, root your device, or install any Magisk modules.

Here is the list of Xiaomi devices that should support Google Camera ports without needing to unlock the device’s bootloader:

  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S
  • Xiaomi Mi 8
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
  • Xiaomi Poco F1 (Xiaomi Pocophone F1)

This is big news for loyal fans of Xiaomi products. Xiaomi devices are a great value, but they often lack decent camera apps. Fortunately, the Google Camera app can make up for that. We’ve shown how these ports can greatly enhance the picture-taking quality on budget Xiaomi devices before. I’m running the port myself on my Google Pixel to unlock more features, and I can’t recommend it enough. Just note that the port isn’t magic and may need to be fine-tuned for your device before it can take better pictures than the stock camera app. For example, we found that the stock OxygenOS camera app on the OnePlus 6 takes better pictures than the Google Camera port. Your mileage may vary, though.

You can find the best port for your device at the link below, or by checking out the forum for your particular device.

Google Camera Port Hub

from xda-developers

Sony’s frustratingly good lineup is held back by nonsensical support, awful pricing, and an outdated release strategy

Sony Xperia XZ2

The Sony Xperia XZ2 might just be my favorite device of 2018. Since my very positive review, my impressions of the device have continued to be fairly positive. It is very snappy, has a great display, camera, battery life, and is continually updated by Sony with security patches within two weeks of Google. That isn’t to say there aren’t a few items that bother me about this phone, and in general, I feel that they are ones Sony really needs to mend if they plan any sort of larger market share than the small sliver they currently have from their flagships to their mid-range devices.

The things I still love

First, let’s get the things I still love about my Sony Xperia XZ2 out of the way. As I mentioned earlier getting continuous and regular software updates from Sony have been a very pleasant experience. Not all is roses though. Sony recently promised an Android Pie update in largely the same time frame as Android Oreo even though the Xperia XZ2 had the—now abandoned—Android P beta running on the phone and the phone does not run Android 8.1 Oreo which are bummers. However, it is a benchmark other larger OEMs should look towards, that despite taking longer for feature roll-outs they can and should maintain continuous security patches. That software is also reliably fast. I have yet to have any slowdowns or performance issues with my software, although XDA Portal Contributor Eric Hulse has other thoughts about the Xperia XZ2 Premium, given that his has had some random reboots and odd crashes. Largely though, it is great software, skinned where needed to give Android some polish, and left alone where it doesn’t need anything.  The same goes for the camera.

I really love this camera, and while I could fight with people night and day about how a good photo is up to the eye of the beholder, others have noted its positive traits, especially low smoothing and high detail retention in most lighting conditions as well as true-to-life colors. Sony touted their Bravia powered display as a major selling point of the device and that holds up as well. Despite having to turn off the HDR up-converting-thing they have for anything but feature films, the display is bright and very colorful and to this day does not have any scratches or abrasions, something I cannot say about the back—more on that later. The front firing speakersa rarity these days—are great to listen to podcasts with and although they do not get loud enough, there is zero distortion and they keep their quality at max volume.

I also still love the feel of the phone. Sony’s 2018 design is polarizing and divisive and has likely turned away many fans and that backlash isn’t without merit. However, once you hold the Sony Xperia XZ2, those issues quickly lose ground. It is nearly perfectly shaped to fit into the palm of your hand nicely, has no aggressive lines, and the frame has a solid texture and feel to it—it is a good phone to hold. It isn’t perfect though, and I think Sony really dropped the ball on the choice of back glass coating. My Sony Xperia XZ2 looks like it has a year of abuse in three short months with scratches—mostly deep ones—marring the back, something I have never had on any other glass backed phone. This is mainly due to whatever coating they use but is also made worse by the fact that the device comes to a flat-ish point down the back where it rests on and cradles. It sucks and I wish I could have this in-hand feel without this fairly major downside, but you have trade-offs I guess. Finally, there is the battery life. It has been consistently reliable over the past nearly 4 months of ownership with the phone never dying on me unexpectedly or making me worry about if it was going to make it the whole day. The only time I have had to charge it late in the day was when my wireless charger died without me realizing it, and I went to work without looking at my battery only to find I had about 40% remaining. It is not something I even regularly look at or care about, the Sony Xperia XZ2 is how all phone batteries should be.

And the things I don’t…

I could go on and on about the things I like about the phone, and for more detailed information check out my review. Now though, it is time to turn our attention to the things I think are holding Sony back, not just with the Xperia XZ2 but in the entirety of the market, especially at the premium end.

Product line cannibalization and a 6-month upgrade cycle

When people hear of Sony supporting the Xperia XZ2, Xperia XZ1, and Xperia XZ with Android Pie it sounds like a great thing, and it is, but it is a little less impactful when you realize those constitute only 18 months of devices and likely next month when the Sony Xperia XZ3 is announced, we will have 4 Sony flagships in 24 months. Add the Sony Xperia XZ Premium and Xperia XZ2 Premium devices that, unlike the Samsung Galaxy Note lineup, add very little in actual value and are very close to their mainstream brethren. We thus could have 6 flagship devices in 24-months. To make the situation even worse, the Xperia XZ2 Premium was announced before the Xperia XZ2’s release, and within 60 days of the rumored Xperia XZ3 announcement.

It is hard to recommend a Sony phone to friends or others I speak with because there is quite literally always a new model right around the corner that will replace their current device. Sony has to stop this behavior because it only serves to totally cannibalize their resale values, causing even remotely savvy buyers to go second-hand and save up to $300 in two months, and it makes it very confusing about what Xperia device is currently the best to buy. Android phones already have a massive value problem 6 and 12 months out from release, but few outside of brands that are dying do worse than Sony. It goes without saying that you should not be buying a phone for its resale value, but when you lose hundreds the moment you “drive it off the lot” you have the Chrysler problem, and no one wants the Chrysler problem.

Software bugs and annoyances

My second major issue with Xperia devices are the software bugs. Now, I mentioned earlier that the software is quite stable and very snappy, but there are things that crop up that are annoying. Some popular ones are the camera crashing on launch, and while my device seems to have that fixed in recent updates, it still took a few months to do so. The phone also has the odd tendency to lose Smart Lock in the settings menu—just gone for no reason. This is also an issue that plagued Essential and Motorola, so it is likely more of a stock Android issue but none of my Google Pixels, OnePlus devices, or Samsung devices have ever had this issue, so it can be fixed.

Sony needs radio help, bad

Finally, we come to my biggest gripe about the Xperia XZ2 and the one that keeps me taking my SIM card out of it just to put it back in a few hours later—rebooting each time, thanks Sony—and that is the overall cellular, Wi-Fi situation. Again, I think this is a problem that OEMs with significantly fewer devices on the market have to deal with on live software, but it kills the experience. First off my Wi-Fi will just randomly stop working properly with a single access point. It is typically the same access points, and when it occurs there are low signal issues to contend with but it will cause the Wi-Fi to go into a loop of connecting, getting the IP address, disconnecting, and reconnecting over and over, all while another device sits right next to it perfectly fine.

The cellular situation in the U.S. is no better. I use the phone on T-Mobile, and while I have given up on ever getting VoLTE or WiFi Calling, the least I could ask for is reliable cellular, but that seems to be hit or miss too. Now, this does not seem to be an Essential PH-1 issue where cellular reception is just bad, this is purely software driven where it’ll cling onto a Wi-Fi network far outside the possible range of that device before connecting to cellular, even with all the settings toggled. It will also poorly toggle between LTE and HSPA+—in my area, it should never hit H+—and get stuck on the slower speed until I toggle cellular data and then it immediately connects to full speed LTE.

Text messages also get stuck in this situation, and just today I had to reset my APN settings after a “configuration service download” failed to apply and left me with receiving but not sending messages for a few hours until I reset the APN and rebooted. These are issues that I do not face with my Google Pixel, my BlackBerry Key2, any Samsung device, and not even my OnePlus 6 even though this was something I had to sell my OnePlus 3 for. It is fixable, but Sony does not seem interested enough to bother doing anything about it, especially here in the U.S. where I didn’t import my phone. I bought a U.S. device from a local Best Buy that should work a lot better than it does on my network, the only network it is somewhat compatible with.

Sony has been known for this behavior, making even simple things so frustrating by poor support it causes people to simply give up. I bought my Sony Xperia XZ2 open-box from Best Buy two weeks after I returned it for over $275 off the initial price I originally paid. It’s a long story. You can shop on B&H Photo and Best Buy for open-box or Swappa for used models and save between $200 and $400 on mint-condition models despite being only a few months old. Although they have a small market share, they have a lot of returns and end up being phones that regular people cannot use as their daily driver and it tanks their value. This makes for a sad situation because behind these totally fixable issues is a really great phone. In the end, I cannot blame them giving up either, but that does not stop me from putting my SIM card in this phone nearly every day because it is a great phone if you can just get past the ‘Sony Tax’. This isn’t just applicable to the Xperia XZ line of flagships either. Many of these same issues go down the line to the successful and well-received Xperia XA2 series of devices that sit in the upper mid-range of the market, despite being more suited to solid mid-rangers.

But now, mint Sony Xperia XZ2’s are going for $400—half their price just 3 months ago—and at that price, it is hard to find anything comparable and is absolutely something I would recommend if you can get past the issues I laid out in this article. However, Sony makes no money on the second hand market, and it is hard to see Sony making any money off returns and open-box deals. If Sony wants any opportunities at striking the U.S. and global market while LG and HTC are floundering, they have a few things they need to tend to… otherwise, they will eternally be “other.”

from xda-developers