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What is firmware?

Firmware helps manage all our electronics. Here's how it works, why it's different from software, and more

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Along with the standbys "hardware" and "software," the digital world has long used a third description called "firmware." While firmware has been around for several years, it's not always clear to the average user what it refers to or how it differs from previous definitions for software.

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Google's new Pixel lock screens need to copy the iPhone's photo tricks

Why is using a snapshot for your wallpaper so frustrating?

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October might only be reaching its halfway mark, but it's already been a banner month for smartphones. Not only did the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro arrive this week — to critical acclaim, no less — but Android 14 finally made its stable debut across all supported Google devices. I'm a fan of the company's new lock screen customizer for Pixel, but I'd be lying if there wasn't one feature on iOS that had me begging Google to copy it for a Feature Drop. And no, it's not lock screen widgets — it's something much more useful, and certainly up Google's wheelhouse.

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Hands-on with Google’s Continuity Camera clone in Android 14

A solid start, but not the stellar experience we hoped

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Apple released a bunch of new hardware powered by its custom M-series silicon last year with oodles of cool software trickery in tow. Continuity Camera was one such feature which converts an iPhone into a wireless webcam for your Mac. All you need is a MagSafe camera mount or a way to prop the iPhone up at a suitable angle. We longed for an equivalent baked into Android or ChromeOS, and a solution is finally available with Android 14, rolling out to testers with the QPR1 beta. We took it for a spin, and the experience was about as good as a first attempt can be.

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How to set up Moto Gestures

Unlock the full potential of your Motorola phone by setting up Moto Gestures

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Over the years, Motorola has consistently prioritized user-friendly features and tools that enhance the user experience. A shining example is Moto Gestures, a unique set of actions that allow users to access built-in features and tools more conveniently. Sometimes, without even touching actual physical buttons.

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Android 14 QPR1 Beta welcomes Google's new Pixel 8 series to its fold

Beta testing ahead of the December Pixel Feature Drop is underway

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The Android landscape is ever-changing, and currently, all eyes are on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro by Google. These flagship smartphones have consistently led the way within the Android world, pioneering the latest OS advancements. Today, they venture into a fresh domain with the Android 14 QPR1 Beta program.

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Android could fix a big problem for dual SIM users

A Quick Settings toggle for quick data SIM switching might make its way to the OS

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Android 14 started rolling out widely in the stable channel earlier this month. It is merely an incremental update to Android 13, but Google is changing and improving how Android handles system-level operations and settings behind the scenes. The OS continues evolving and the promise of more refinement in future updates lives on, because Google has been spotted developing a Quick Settings tile to switch data SIMs easily.

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How to access Chromebook's Clipboard Manager

Quickly access recently copied items on your Chromebook

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Chromebooks are quickly becoming a popular alternative to Windows laptops, PCs, and MacBooks. Whether for your home, school, or work, you can buy one of the best Chromebooks that suits your needs at affordable prices.

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Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 5 is joining the One UI 6 beta party

Days after the Galaxy Z Fold 5 did the same

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Samsung's latest foldables, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5, have both been out for quite some time now. And they are really, really good phones. If Samsung hasn't yet perfected the foldable, it's really close to doing so — and as the form factor becomes more and more popular, its offerings are going to mature even further in upcoming generations. Like other Samsung flagship phones, the new foldables are eligible for the upcoming One UI 6 update, based on the just-launched Android 14. Now, it's the Galaxy Z Flip 5's turn to get in on the beta for Samsung's next major upgrade.

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How to customize your Android 14 lock screen

Show off your personality without unlocking your phone

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One of the biggest and most noticeable changes in Android 14 is the ability to customize your lock screen. This lets you make some small but fundamental changes to your lock screen that can improve its usability and aesthetics.

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How to change ringtone on an Android phone

You don't need to check your phone when someone else's rings

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You might be tired of hearing the same ringtone you've had for years since you last budgeted for a new Android phone. Most people don't realize you can change the default ringtone and assign a custom tune for your listed contacts. It's a handy feature when separating urgent work calls from personal ones. But that involves learning how to experiment with new ringtones while replacing the selected default. This short guide teaches you how to change your ringtone or load any custom tune from your phone's file manager.

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How to open files on ChromeOS

Just two clicks and you're in

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Chromebooks are more than enough to handle most people's computer needs. Even with its firm reliance on the Google Chrome web browser, you can do much more with the Files app and some solid Android apps. You're never stuck within the scope of a web browser. Whether you need to access files on your inbuilt storage or an external drive, this guide explains how to open files on ChromeOS.

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Android 14 elevates HDR image support in Google Chrome

Users will now have crisp, stunning images

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We all love getting our own pictures and videos from events. But sometimes, the quality of photos we end up with boils down to our phone’s image formats and features. There has been an outcry in the tech world for features that provide perfectly processed images. As usual, Google has jumped into the pond and equipped Android 14 with plenty of premium tools, including HDR image support that uses a backward-compatible format to view images in Ultra-HDR for crisp and clear shadows and stunning bright content.

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Google's Android 14 statue will make you turn upside down

It's nothing like the Easter egg on your phone

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In May this year, right after Google I/O 2023, people discovered an Apollo Mission 14 patch-inspired Bugdroid statue on one of Google's campuses in Mountain View, and considering the Android 14 Easter egg matches this theme, we naturally thought it would be used for the official launch of the OS. But after Android 14 made its debut this week, a different statue has shown up out front of the Android headquarters to commemorate the release.

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What's new in Android 14 QPR1 Beta 2 and earlier

There are a lot of interesting features in Android 14's QPR beta releases

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Google finally released stable Android 14 alongside the Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro this week, but this is not the only new software coming our way. The company has also updated its QPR1 beta program with a second beta, QPR1 Beta 2. The software is slated to go live as the December Feature Drop later this year, but in the meantime, you can already try it out on your Pixel if you're daring enough. Here's everything new we found in the QPR beta program.

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You will soon find all your Google Pixel updates in one place

Android 14 will club updates for the Android OS, play system, and apps in one place

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Software updates to the app and operating system of our favorite Android devices play a much bigger role than just fixing bugs and adding new features — they keep your device safe from known vulnerabilities identified by security researchers, app developers, and beta testers. Google stepped up security by converting many Android components into Mainline modules updated through the Google Play system, so they don’t have to wait for the next Android release. Now, the company is working on collating all pending updates for your device in one place, so staying on top of changes is quick and easy.

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5 Android 14 settings you'll want to change immediately

From your lock screen to new gestures, you need to change these five things after upgrading your smartphone

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Android 14 is out now, and while a ton of new features are included in the latest version of the OS, we identified a few you should check out first. These will make the most significant difference to your Android 14 experience, which is substantially larger than Android 13.

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How to share your location on Android

Your loved ones won't have to worry about where you are anymore

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If your friends plan to meet up with you at a new hole-in-the-wall restaurant, they'll appreciate getting help with directions. But some spots can be tucked away at an obscure location, making them hard to find. Or maybe you're parked away from the building and can't find a suitable landmark for reference. While maps can help with navigation, sharing your real-time location is more accurate.

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Google releases Android 14 QPR1 Beta 2 as the next Pixel Feature Drop inches closer

No sign of the Pixel 8 in the beta program yet

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Google's on a roll this week, launching the Pixel 8 and Pixel Watch 2 at its hardware event, then releasing the stable version of Android 14 immediately after. The company isn't even taking the time to sit back and admire its work — in fact, it's already looking forward to its next major software release, the December Pixel Feature Drop, also known as Android 14 Quarterly Platform Release 1 (QPR1). Beta testing started for this version in late September, and just over two weeks later, Google is already back at it with Beta 2.

An Acer Chromebook 514 (CB514-2H/T) on a wooden table on a stone patio next to a pond with greenery around it 1
How to put ChromeOS on a flash drive

Make the OS easily installable, or usable, anywhere

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ChromeOS has come a long way from being a glorified web browser to a full-fledged operating system that's packed with great features. Chromebooks come in all shapes and sizes, including some great 2-in-1 laptops, which means there's a Chromebook for everyone. If you're interested in a Chromebook but aren't sure if you want to take the leap and buy one, install ChromeOS on a flash drive and try it on a computer you own.

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Google gives up on a fixed day for its monthly Pixel updates

Rollouts now start whenever software is ready

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For years, Google Pixel owners knew what to expect on the first Monday of a month. Like clockwork, Google would release its security patches (and sometimes its quarterly feature drops) on the day, ensuring that your device was always up to date. Ever since the switch to its own Tensor CPUs in the Pixel series, Google hasn't always been able to hit this target, though, sometimes only updating devices almost a month later. To combat this, the company is simply getting rid of its fixed update day with the Pixel 8 series.

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