AP: Google unveils budget Pixel phone as pandemic curbs spending. “Google has started selling a long-delayed budget smartphone boasting the same high-quality camera and several other features available in fancier Pixel models that cost hundreds of dollars more. The Pixel 4a unveiled Monday will be available Aug. 20 after months of delay caused by supply problems triggered by the pandemic.”
Tom’s Guide: Google Pixel 4 XL glass backs are prying off — and it gets worse. “Wear and tear is an inevitability with any tech product. Smartphones are especially vulnerable, given that we carry them around and use them every day. But a disconcertingly large group of Google Pixel 4 XL owners have found that their devices are aging in quite a strange and potentially dangerous way.”
Gizmodo: Google’s New Recorder App Has An Unofficial Workaround, No Pixel Required. “When Google announced the Pixel 4, one of the things we were most excited for was the new Google Recorder app. It could transcribe your recordings live and offline! Around the world, journalists, students, and anyone who might need meeting transcripts raised their eyes heavenward and whispered a quiet ‘Thank you, Jesus.’ The only hitch? The new app was exclusive to Pixel phones, starting with the Pixel 2. But now, there’s an unofficial workaround that should benefit most Android users.”
Ars Technica: RIP OG Pixel: Google ends support after just three years [Update]. “Pour one out this morning for the OG Google Pixel 1. This month’s Android security patches are out, and while you’ll find bulletins covering the Pixel 2, 3, and 4, the original Google Pixel didn’t make the cut. Google is ending support this month.” An update to the story notes that support is actually ending NEXT month. Still, that means the phone is obsolete in… three years? And the these phones started at $649?
Droidlife: Google Pixel 4 Review: Nope, Not This One. “We’re four years into the Google experiment that is high-end Pixel phones. Google has given us two, once again, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. They are the most advanced of any Pixel phone to date, though one could argue that they are also the most lacking.”
The Register: Not a good look, Google: Pixel 4 mobes can be face-unlocked even if you’re asleep… or dead? . “Pixel 4 owners can unlock their smartphones with their faces even if they have their eyes closed. That’s not good. Google’s Face Unlock feature in the new smartphone uses machine-learning algorithms to recognize your face and grant access to the device’s apps and data. The biometric system is designed to ensure that only you can only unlock your own phone.”
Google Blog: If it has audio, now it can have captions. “With the launch of Pixel 4, Live Caption is now officially available to make digital media more accessible. With a single tap, Live Caption automatically captions videos and spoken audio on your device (except phone and video calls). It happens in real time and completely on-device, so it works even if you don’t have cell data or Wi-Fi, and the captions always stay private and never leave your phone.” There are plans to work with other Android phone manufacturers to roll out this feature to other phones besides Pixel.
Google Blog: Annie Leibovitz unveils photo series with Google Pixel. “The individuals photographed include soccer player Megan Rapinoe, equal justice lawyer Bryan Stevenson, artist James Turrell, journalist Noor Tagouri, hip-hop activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Army Officer Sarah Zorn, global-health scientist Jack Andraka and more.”
9to5Google: Here’s where to download the ‘Recorder’ app from the Pixel 4. “Voice recorder apps are a dime a dozen, but having one with a clean design, no ads, and being pre-installed on your phone is a nice thing to have. That’s exactly what the Pixel 4 will ship with, but we’re able to help you get it a bit early.” Apparently it should run on any phone running Android 10.
Neowin: Google will officially announce the Pixel 4 on October 15. “Just like last year, there’s not a lot that isn’t known about Google’s Pixel 4 smartphone ahead of its official announcement, but Google is having an event for it nonetheless. The company has invited members of the press to a hardware event on October 15 to ‘see a few new things Made by Google’.”
The Verge: You may be owed up to $500 if you owned a Pixel or Pixel XL. “Earlier this year, Google agreed to settle a class action lawsuit that claims the company knowingly sold first-generation Pixel phones with defective microphones. Now, the final approval has gone through, meaning if you bought an original Pixel or Pixel XL before January 7th, 2017, you’re probably eligible for some money.”
ValueWalk: Issue With Google Fi Draining Users’ Bank Accounts, And Google Knows It. “Google’s MVNO service, Google Fi, celebrated its fourth anniversary last month. To mark the occasion, the service came out with 50% off on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, making many buyers happy. Now, it is resulting in a disappointment for users who say that they are being charged full price even if they have financed their purchases.”
India Today: Angry Pixel user puts up anti-Google posters in town, slams company’s aftersales service. “With so many smartphones in a market the size of India, manufacturers struggle to keep up with a uniform after sales service for various models. Customers, therefore, often end up dissatisfied and expressing their displeasure against that particular brand on social media channels. However, some people, like Manu Aggarwal from Haryana for instance, think that there’s a better way to publicise their problem with a particular brand, i.e. through banners and billboards. Therefore, when Google failed to offer him an unsatisfactory service, he took to the real world to express his emotions for Google.”
Engadget: Pixel 3 bug disables the phone’s camera. “Pixel 3 owners are dealing with another software glitch, and this one could prove to be a showstopper for some. Owners on Google’s forums, Reddit and elsewhere (including an Engadget staff family member) report a flaw that prevents them from using the Pixel 3’s official camera app.”
The Verge: Some Google Pixel owners’ camera photos aren’t saving. “Some owners of the new Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL are experiencing an issue in which taking a photo using Google Camera occasionally fails to save. Users on Reddit and Google’s support forums are sharing their experiences, and the issue appears to be widespread, affecting original Pixel phones as well as the Pixel 2 / 2 XL. Several members of The Verge’s staff who own Google Pixel phones have confirmed they’ve experienced the issue as well.”