All posts in “Android”

Samsung Galaxy S9 might be announced in February

Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung Galaxy S8

Image: Lili Sams/Mashable

Ready or not, Samsung’s Galaxy S9 is coming.

The Korean electronics giant’s next flagship Android phone might be announced in February, according to a report from Bloomberg.

There were murmurs that Samsung would switch things up this year and reveal the Galaxy S9 at CES in January, instead of at its own “Unpacked” event a few months later. But it appears that may not happen. Samsung could still unveil another phone — perhaps the long-rumored foldable “Galaxy X” — at CES, though.

The Bloomberg report claims Samsung is expected to unveil two versions of the Galaxy S9 — a regular S9 and larger S9+, which sounds about right considering the company did the same for the last two years running with the S7 and S8. 

The phones will reportedly come with “upgraded camera systems” and could launch as early as March.

Though there haven’t been any substantially damning leaks of the S9, there has been a good amount of smoke recently.

Rumors suggest the new phones will look very similar to the S8 and S8+, so those looking for a complete redesign may be let down. Earlier rumors hinted at the possibility of a screen that stretches to the bottom of the phone, like the iPhone X, but with a narrow bezel on the top for the front-facing camera, IR sensor, iris scanner and other sensors.

Prominent phone leaker and 3D concept artist Benjamin Geskin mocked up what such a phone could look like:

Last month, a 3D CAD file of a device labeled as the Galaxy S9 allegedly leaked online. The image shows a phone with vertically-aligned dual cameras and a fingerprint sensor below them, instead of next to them. Of course, there’s also the possibility it won’t even have a fingerprint sensor.

Other rumored features we’re hearing across the web:

It’s still anyone’s guess as to what the S9 will look like or what features it’ll support. However, we’d bet on a device that’s competitive with the iPhone X. 

It may even cost $1,000. Yeah, it’d be insane, but the iPhone X and Galaxy Note 8 have already proven that a $1,000 phone offers a lot of value. It’s really not as crazy as it sounds, especially if you buy them with an installment plan.

Regardless, get hyped for the Galaxy S9. It’s likely to be the first 2018 flagship that’ll matter.

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The HyperCharger PRO can handle three devices at once

It has two built-in chargers, plus an additional USB port.
It has two built-in chargers, plus an additional USB port.

Image: LinearFlux

These days, you wouldn’t want to be caught dead on a long flight without a portable charger — yet, you still likely forget to purchase and pack one, time after time. And there you are, once again stuck on a plane with no Netflix, a dead phone, and a snoring old man leaning on your shoulder. For the love of it all, buy a portable battery pack.

The Graphene Series HyperCharger PRO is a welcome solution, with two built-in charging cables and an additional USB port. With a whopping 8,000mAh capacity (in layman’s terms: a lot of battery power), Graphene enables you to charge three devices simultaneously. Or you can opt to charge your phone over and over again. Either way, you won’t have to worry about awkwardly situating yourself near an airport outlet anytime soon. 

The HyperCharger PRO also comes equipped with the anti-gravity NanoStik PRO pad, which allows you to attach the battery pack to your smartphone without any kind of adhesives for a low key charging solution. Whether you’re trekking around the world or just trying to make sure you have enough juice left to call a cab at the end of the night, the Graphene 8K HyperCharger PRO is a respectable choice in backup.

Mashable readers can buy one now for $39.99, which is an impressive discount of 50% off $79.99 for a limited time.

Google Assistant is coming to older Android phones and tablets


The Google Assistant, Google’s take on Siri, Cortana and Alexa without the approachable name, has long been available on most modern phones and tablets. But given the fragmentation of the Android ecosystem, many older devices will never get the newer versions of Android that actually feature built-in support for the Assistant. Now, however, Google is bringing support for its voice-activated helper to phones running Android 5.0 Lollipop and tablets running Android 7.0 Nougat and 6.0 Marshmallow.

Lollipop launched back in 2014, so we’re talking about a rather old phone operating system here (Android 8.1 is now standard on Google’s own Pixel phones), but according to Google, over 26 percent of all Android devices still run some version of Android 5.0 Lollipop. Just over 30 percent run Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Still, with an update to the Google Play Services, even these older devices will now get access to all the goodies that the Google Assistant promises — and often delivers.

If you still own one of these older Lollipop phones, you should see an update relatively soon. It’ll only be available to users who set their language to English in the U.S., UK, India, Australia, Canada and Singapore, as well as to those who have set their default language to Spanish in the U.S., Mexico and Spain. Google says it will also roll out to users in Italy, Japan, Germany, Brazil and Korea.

Because the Assistant on these older devices isn’t baked right into the launcher, though, you’ll have to launch the Google Assistant app before you can ask your phone for directions, the weather, recipes or jokes (in case you are feeling sad).

As for Marshmallow and Nougat tablet users, they’ll get the update over the course of the coming week, as long as they are in the U.S. and have set their language to English.

Google’s lightweight OS Android Go launches as Android Oreo (Go Edition)


Google’s made a number of tweaks since announcing Android Go back at I/O in May. The lightweight version is finally ready to launch, albeit with a slightly altered name. The OS is launching with the release of Android 8.1, now carrying the decidedly less catchy Android Oreo (Go edition) title.

As per the new name, the Go version isn’t an altogether different operating system than the primary version of Android. In fact, in a number of ways, the software types are likely indistinguishable, and Google’s devoting a team to assuring that the Go edition gets updated and released on more or less the same schedule as its standard counterpart.

Google made the announcement this evening at an event in India — a major potential market for the new version of the OS. As the company notes in a recent blog post, there are currently more Android users in India than the U.S., making it a huge market, along with other developing countries. A number of companies like Mozilla and Nokia have worked to address a rapidly expanding audience in these areas, but none are better positioned than Google.

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With more than two billion activated Android devices in the world, the mobile operating system already has a strong footprint. Go Edition is an attempt to give users the best possible Android experience, in spite of hardware limitations. The Oreo configuration is designed specifically for devices with between 512MB and 1GB of RAM.

According to Google, that comes with all sorts of benefits for the end user, including 30 percent faster startup time and an optimization of storage space, by up to 2x. The latter is accomplished, in part, by the inclusion of a number of optimized Go apps. It’s a pretty long list, including Google Go, Google Assistant Go, YouTube Go, Google Maps Go, Gmail Go, Gboard, Chrome and Files Go, a new file management app. There’s also a Go version of the Play store, which specializes in lightweight apps.

All in all, the changes are relatively minimal. There are a few key things, including recent previews and multi-users settings, but it ultimately shouldn’t be too major a step down from the full Android, for the most part. Google’s also not limiting availability of the software to any specific region. Go edition will be available globally starting tomorrow. Compatible devices should start shipping early next year.

Google might bring Nest back into its own hardware business


Google might fold Nest back into the Google, well, fold. The company is considering integrating Nest, which is a separate company under mutual parent Alphabet at the moment, back into Google’s hardware business.

The re-integration, first reported by Wall Street Journal, is a move that Google is considering as a way to help it build out its smart home capabilities vs. Amazon, which is expanding its hardware offerings in that regard. Nest’s lineup works with Google Assistant, but also with Amazon’s Alexa; bringing it back into Google’s core hardware team could help develop better integration with Assistant and the company’s other mobile and networking devices, building a more extensive competitive hedge.

Now that Google is developing out its Google hardware business in earnest, it also makes a bunch of sense to bring this together in terms of branding and making sure that consumers are clear about the relationships and advantages inherent in Google’s growing device ecosystem.

This is still just a move that’s being considered, per this report, and not something final – but it’s hard to see what the big advantages are at this stage in terms of keeping Google and Nest distinct, especially with Google’s focus on Pixel, its Wi-Fi products and Google Home along with its Assistant companion.