Android Police

Dylan R. Coyle-AP News Writer

Dylan R. Coyle

AP News Writer

About Dylan R. Coyle

By day, Dylan is a Public Relations Representative for the NASCAR team Kaulig Racing. By the other parts of the day, he's a news writer for Android Police.

He's a graduate of Temple University in journalism and a conniseur for all things It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, so you can jot that down.

What was their first phone?

The Droid Turbo was my first smartphone.

What phone do they have now?

For work purposes, the iPhone 14 Pro. I know, I know.

What is their favorite ever phone?

Hard to beat that Droid Turbo.

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WhatsApp drops support for Android KitKat

Less than 1% of users are still on Android 4.4

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WhatsApp is the world’s most used messaging app, as it makes both corporate and person-to-person communication easy and universal internationally. Because of its worldwide reach, it’s integral that the app is available to as many people as possible across different operating systems and OS versions. Not all localities are able to use Android 14 with the technological resources available to them, so some have stuck with Android versions as far back as Android 4.4, otherwise known as KitKat. Now, as we noted back in April that beta versions indicated would happen, WhatsApp has dropped support for KitKat with its newest app version for Android.

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Here's our first look at Xiaomi's MIUI replacement, HyperOS

Things are looking pretty familiar to start

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Xiaomi phones are really impressive. Besides boasting some of the best camera specs of any smartphone line on the market, the sheer quality of the company's internals as well as its ability to keep up with modern trends like foldable phones pushes it towards the front of the pack. It’s unfortunate for some of our readers that these products aren’t usually sold in Western markets, because with the right branding, they could really catch on.

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Google will start scanning for Android malware in real time

Having to worry less about what's on your phone is a win in our book

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Android is about as open as operating systems get these days. Compared to iOS, which allows very little wiggle room for non-Apple authorized customization, Android users can do almost anything to their phone — for better or worse — with a little bit of tinkering. One of the ways people can utilize the openness of their smartphone is by sideloading apps outside the Google Play Store, which can obviously be a bit dangerous regardless of whether you’re as careful as they come with technology or not. Malware can come in all shapes and sizes, so Google has taken the steps to finally roll out an enhanced version of Google Play Protect, which we mentioned was being worked on last month.

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The world of Samsung smartphones is ever-growing, as evident by the recently-announced return of the Fan Edition line with the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE, unveiled earlier in October. Back in late July/early August, however, the tech world was buzzing with the release of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, one of our all-time favorite foldables. It feels like Samsung has finally honed in on what makes a foldable phone actually work, and it all culminated in the Z Flip 5 and the Z Fold 5 (even if the price scares away tons of its potential audience). After a few months of continued sales of the phone, Samsung seems poised to once again cash in on the warm reception to the Z Flip 5 by unveiling the Retro Edition in the coming weeks.

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Wear OS gets Google Assistant tile for quick commands and shortcuts

Turn off your smart lights with ease

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The Google Pixel Watch 2 just released earlier this month, and while it's not a radical departure from the design principles of the first Pixel Watch, it completely refined itself under the hood, making for a much more rounded — pun certainly intended — experience with the sequel. Not only has Google beefed up things like its processor, but it's also taken a much deeper dive into software functionality with the launch of Wear OS 4 (which has also come to the original Pixel Watch). As part of its deep dive, the company had been developing a new tile for Google Assistant since earlier this year to make accessing shortcuts easy and non-verbal. Google decided to release the tile to Wear OS in public builds within the past few days.

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Netflix shocks no one with another price hike

It's a yearly thing at this point

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Over the past decade, streaming services, both ones that offer TV-style channel guides and platforms that offer on-demand content libraries, have gained so much popularity that they've practically knocked cable TV down the drain. We’re not too upset about it, as being able to access content anywhere is great. However, with that new dependency on streaming services comes the good ol’ adage of supply and demand, even in the virtual sense. The people who run these services know that we’ll pay more for something we grow dependent on, so they’ve increased prices marginally throughout the years, leaving many to wonder what services are the best bang for your buck. Netflix is the worst when it comes to this, and the service has proven why again very recently with its second price hike in a year.

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The Google Play Store's dark theme has gotten even darker

It’s not quite AMOLED dark, but it’s getting there

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Over the years, the Google Play Store has gotten a few theme refreshes that have either elicited passionate or apathetic reactions. It can be a sign of a bigger design trend when Google shakes things up, such as integrating Material You’s dynamic colors into the app. Back in 2021, when Material You was officially unveiled, the store’s design started changing rapidly, getting the pill-shaped search box we’re so used to now. In a slightly less-than-revolutionary move, changes have been made to the app’s dark theme, making it much darker in the process.

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Google kills popular camera feature with Pixel 8 release

Photo Spheres were a hit in 2012

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Take a moment to place yourself back into the early 2010s mentally. The beginnings of Google Cardboard, the exciting new releases of the Samsung Galaxy series smartphones, the relatively new operating system called Android — there are so many unique and exciting moments to choose from. Photo Spheres, a Google Camera-specific feature, was introduced in 2012, and we were extremely excited about it at the time. Now, after an 11-year run at the forefront of our photography minds, Google is removing the mode from Pixel phones with the release of the Google Pixel 8 series.

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Latest leak offers clarity on the Galaxy S24's Exynos-Snapdragon situation

Is this a step backwards from the Galaxy S23's all-Snapdragon lineup?

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Samsung has been gearing up for its next mainline smartphone in the Galaxy series, the Samsung Galaxy S24, for a long time now. The company’s current flagship offerings in the Galaxy S23 series offer some of the best phones in the Android side of the industry, especially when talking about the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. When looking towards the future, however, it seems like it’s just another day, another rumor about what Samsung is going to do about the Galaxy S24 line’s processor. The newest rumors point to a stark split globally regarding whether you’ll be able to purchase the phone with an Exynos or Snapdragon chip inside.

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Wear OS gets new and improved native app support with AllTrails, MyFitnessPal, and Peloton

Google wants you to stay fit with the Google Pixel Watch 2

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Wear OS has been around for just under a decade, but it’s improved mightily over the last couple of years. With Google diving headfirst last year into the smartwatch hardware world after years of trepidation, the company has had reason to invest more in its software than it had beforehand. Even before the Google Pixel Watch came out, Google had purchased Fitbit, the most well-known fitness-centric smartwatch company, back in 2021. It’s been a steady few years for the smartwatch operating system, and it’s about to be an even better product as it’s either adding or upgrading three native fitness apps — AllTrails, MyFitnessPal, and Peloton — to its collection.

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The Pixel Watch 2 will require a Google account for Fitbit features

Fitbit account support is scheduled to end in 2025 altogether

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Google’s big New York City event came with raucous fanfare and left with expected excitement surrounding the official unveiling of the Pixel 8 series, new Pixel Buds Pro colors, and the all-new Pixel Watch 2 (and don’t forget about Android 14 finally dropping to the masses). We’ve talked quite a bit about the Pixel Watch 2 in recent months, and it looks like a substantial upgrade over the first generation Google-designed smartwatch. Its release comes on the heels of Fitbit’s announcement of the Fitbit Charge 6 just a week beforehand, which will be available for purchase “sometime this fall.” Interestingly, just like the Fitbit Charge 6, the Google Pixel Watch 2 will require a Google account for Fitbit features.

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OnePlus Open spotted in the wild ahead of rumored October launch

Indian actress Anushka Sharma was recorded by paparazzi with the new foldable

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It felt like a ridiculously long time since we last heard any news about the upcoming OnePlus Open smartphone, but then we reported on a rumor last week that said it was going to release in October. Before then, we last heard it was facing a delay after potentially releasing imminently in late July. OnePlus teased it on X during the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 launch event that same month. If the October release rumor is true, then it makes sense why Indian actress Anushka Sharma was spotted with the foldable in late September.

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WhatsApp verification checkmark changing from green to blue

Meta may be trying to showcase businesses that are part of its Verified program

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WhatsApp has been steadily making small updates for years in all parts of its messaging app. Just recently, it added with the latest beta the ability to search for terms within its update notes to narrow down exactly what has changed in new versions. Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, purchased WhatsApp in 2014, though the encrypted messenger's development trajectory has largely remained unchanged. In the latest beta update, however, we may see more assimilation between Meta's properties, as a very familiar blue checkmark has appeared on some verified WhatsApp Channels and businesses.

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Smartphone sales are slumping this year, but not for Google

More people are buying premium phones over budget or mid-range options

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It’s a weird time to run a smartphone brand in North America. We’re in an extremely volatile period in which we don’t exactly know what will and won’t sell with certainty. That has led to fewer people buying phones from every company except for Google when comparing Q2 2022 shipments to those from Q2 2023. While that’s definitely a good sign for Google, the entire market has been heading towards investments in premium smartphones, as people just aren’t replacing their devices as often as they used to.

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Leaked renders show the Pixel Watch 2 in four colors from all angles

Google hosts its Pixel event in New York City next week

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In one week’s time, Google will host its “Made by Google” event in New York City, where it will unveil new devices in the Pixel portfolio of products. We know that the new Pixel 8 will be fully unveiled there, and we expect other Pixel-branded smart devices will be showcased as well. We have heard many things about Alphabet’s second attempt at the Pixel Watch, with Google even officially confirming a few weeks ago what it would look like. But other than a short teaser that showed renders and confirmed its IP68 rating and stress monitor, we haven’t gotten much else in terms of official news on internal specs or its software. Earlier this week, we reported on the newest Pixel smartphone’s marketing renders and images being leaked. Now, the same has happened for the Google Pixel Watch 2.

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Samsung Galaxy S23 FE may cost less than its predecessor at launch

The Galaxy S21 FE cost $699 to start

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Leaks surrounding the return of the Fan Edition series from Samsung continue to circle around the tech conglomerate on the daily, it seems. From rumors regarding the brand new Galaxy Buds FE to marketing renders of the Galaxy Tab S9 FE being uncovered, there’s smoke. Where there’s smoke, there’s typically fire. The latest news about the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE showcases some pricing information as well as rumors about a chipset we didn’t think would be inside the smartphone.

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Lock screen widgets could make their long-awaited return in Android 14 QPR1

December's Pixel Feature Drop could resurrect the feature popularized by iPhones recently

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Way back in the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich days, you used to be able to add widgets onto your phone’s lock screen. What feels like a wild concept in recent times used to be the norm across Android smartphones, but unfortunately, Google removed the feature from AOSP sometime afterward. Over the last year, however, the ability to put widgets on your phone’s lock screen has entered into a bit of a renaissance after Apple added the function with iOS 16 in September 2022 (we totally weren’t jealous or anything like that). In August, Samsung enabled similar functionality with its LockStar Good Lock module, and although it’s a bit glitchy, it shows a proof of concept on Android for a return of the much loved feature. Google may be giving us reason to celebrate, as code in Android 14’s first QPR1 beta points to its return.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE and FE+ marketing renders have leaked

They could be officially unveiled soon

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Samsung has been quiet on Fan Edition (FE) devices over the last year or so. The company decided to skip a generation, a decision that disappointed some users who like the more affordable take on Samsung’s flagship phones and tablets. However, rumors have been swirling in recent weeks and months, and tons of Samsung Fan Edition products are being leaked. Not only have we been hearing about the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE for a long time, but renders, specs and official documents have slipped through the cracks regarding the intriguing Galaxy Buds FE. Recently, marketing renders of the Galaxy Tab S9 FE and Galaxy Tab S9 FE+ have seemingly leaked, indicating that their announcement and release is imminent.

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Google's Pixel Fold borrows a screen lock feature from Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 5

Android 14 QPR1 beta lets you choose if you want the outer screen to be on when folding

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The Google Pixel Fold was released in late June as the company’s first attempt to take on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold and the clampdown on foldable smartphones that Samsung has held since releasing the original Fold in 2019. While it is not the best version of a foldable phone we’ve ever seen, we think it’s a decent rough draft and a sign of things to come on future Google smartphones that fold and flip. Samsung phones run a modified version of Android called One UI, the latest version of which is One UI 6. Samsung has a sneaky useful feature in its OS on the Z Fold 5 that keeps the display on when folding the phone, which the Pixel Fold has not had up to this point. That’s all changing with a new setting in the Android 14 QPR1 beta that borrows the feature from Samsung.

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Android smartphones are renowned for the level of control people have over the OS. Whether that’s from gaining root access and really changing the look and functionality of your phone, or simply getting to place apps in specific places on the home screen grid, the possibilities are basically endless. Samsung added a very small touch to its latest One UI 6 beta update adhering to user control, as people can now choose whether to update specific apps alongside Android updates.

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