Some Pixel XL users experience random reboots on Oreo

With every new release of Android comes a spate of problems that need to be worked through. Android Nougat launched with some Bluetooth issues that prevented people from connecting to their Bluetooth-enabled devices, while Marshmallow had no shortage of launch issues too. Now it seems as though an issue from the developer preview version of Android Oreo has made its way into the launch version.

The issue was first logged on the Google Issue Tracker back in July 2017 where Artem Russakovskii reporting his phone rebooting faster than he’s ever seen and functioned weirdly afterward. The issue sees the phone perform a soft reboot and then afterward no sound is available at all until a proper reboot has been performed. Here’s how the issue is first described on Google’s issue tracker.

Have DP4 installed on Pixel XL. I was on the phone, then suddenly a reboot, but was a really quick one, never seen a phone reboot this fast before. Phone soft rebooted, audio unavailable in any app. Some apps fail silently, some not so silently (see attached screenshot).
A proper reboot using the system reboot option fixed the sound.

Now Artem is reporting that his Pixel XL is rebooting “pretty much every single day.” A cursory search of the term Pixel XL reboot on Twitter shows that lots of people are experiencing this issue after upgrading their Pixel XL to Android Oreo.

Google eventually responded to the original complaint about this reboot issue and marked the issue as “Won’t Be Fixed.”

Status: Won’t Fix (Not Reproducible)

We believe the issue was due to a known issue related to a file descriptor leak but it is hard to confirm without further context. We are working on improving error reporting around these cases to try to ensure they are easier to root cause in the future.

Are you experiencing any random reboots on your Pixel or Pixel XL that has received the Android Oreo update? If so, let us know in the comments what device you’re running Android Oreo on.

Lenovo launches four new Android tablets

Lenovo has launched four new Android tablets (yes, they still exist) under its Tab 4 line. First spotted by PhoneRadar, the Tab 4 8, Tab 4 8 Plus, Tab 4 10, and Tab 4 10 Plus are the latest additions to the company’s tablet offerings. They all run Android Nougat. Let’s break them down:

Lenovo Tab 4 10 Plus

  • 10.1-inch Full HD display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor
  • Up to 64GB of storage
  • Up to 4GB of RAM
  • 8MP rear, 5MP front-facing camera

The Tab 4 10 Plus is the most powerful tablet Lenovo announced. It comes with an Adreno 506 GPU, dual front-facing speakers with Dolby Atmos support, a 7,000 mAh battery, a USB-C port, and a $279 starting price.

Lenovo Tab 4 10

  • 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 quad-core processor
  • 16GB storage
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 8MP rear, 5MP front-facing camera

Essentially a budget version of the Plus, the Tab 4 10 is bigger and slower, with a worse display and doesn’t come with a fingerprint sensor like it’s big brother does. And Lenovo hasn’t released pricing for it yet.

Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus

  • 8-inch Full HD display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor
  • Up to 64GB of storage
  • Up to 4GB of RAM
  • 8MP rear, 5MP front-facing camera

Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus

The Tab 4 8 Plus is essentially a smaller version of the Tab 4 10 Plus with identical specs. The fingerprint sensor is integrated with the power button, it comes with a 4,850 mAh battery, and it’s available in slate black or polar white.

Lenovo Tab 4 8

  • 8-inch 1280 x 800 display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 quad-core processor
  • 16GB storage
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 5MP rear, 2MP front-facing camera

This is the slowest tablet of the bunch, and probably the one you should avoid. These specs would be great in 2011, but not today.

US users are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to these tablets, as the international versions are far more powerful. US configurations max out at 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage for all of these tablets. But if you live elsewhere, these may be a good deal if you need a cheap Android tablet.

Icon inconsistencies fixed] Nova Launcher beta 5.5 finally brings adaptive icons support

One thing’s sure, TeslaCoil Software is incredibly prolific. Hot on the heels of the recent Sesame Shortcuts, Nova Launcher has just added one more awesome feature: adaptive icons. V5.5-beta1 of the popular launcher allows those of us still waiting for Android 8.0 Oreo to enjoy a little taste of adaptive icons a bit early.

There are a few caveats. You’ll need to be running Android Lollipop 5.0 or later, and some icons use assets that will specifically require Android Nougat 7.0+. There are also some known problems right now, like dynamic calendar icons wonk out, and apps that use drawable aliases to support adaptive icons don’t work (yet).

  

Adaptive icons set to round, rounded square, and forced round

It also doesn’t bring a whole lot of consistency, but that’s mostly because so many apps don’t yet have support for adaptive icons. Thankfully, this beta includes support for a forced mode that automatically scales and shapes legacy icons, too.

It’s disabled by default because it can bug out a bit — round icons inside round icons, that sort of thing — so you’ll have to choose between potential iconception or apps that don’t yet work with adaptive icons. It even adds some nice background accent colors, too.

Once you have the update installed, to enable the option just head to Look & feel in Nova’s settings and enable the Adaptive Icons toggle. Under Adaptive Icon Shape, you can select exactly how you’d like your icons to look, and the Mask legacy icons toggle allows you to forcibly enable the icon shape, even on unsupported applications.

The full changelog:

5.5-beta1 Sep 10, 2017

-Adaptive icons for Android 5.0+
-Use and control the style of adaptive icons from apps that support them
-Scale and reshape legacy/existing icons to match the adaptive style
-Minor fixes

The beta was only just released so it might take a bit for the update to show up on the Play Store. If you’d like to give it a try, you’ll need to opt-in to the beta (if you haven’t already), and wait for the 5.5-beta1 update to land. If you can’t wait for the update to hit on Google Play, you can also download it over on APK Mirror.

Android Nougat Now Running on 15.8 Percent of Active Devices, Oreo Not on Chart: Google

While all the news this week is revolving around Apple and the buzz it created around the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus, Google has released its Android platform distribution chart for the month of September. The chart shows that Android Nougat continuing to gain market share, with its presence now on almost 15.8 percent active devices. However, the latest Android Oreo version could not find its place in the chart for the same month – notably, Android versions with less than 0.1 percent share of active devices aren’t listed, implying Oreo is currently on fewer than those many devices.

In June this year, the Android Nougat version was found running on 10 percent of active devices. Then in July and August, Android Nougat reached 10.6 percent and 13.5 percent respectively. The total share of Android Nougat for September has now hit 15.8 percent, which includes 12.3 percent of devices on the Android 7.0 Nougat version and 1.2 percent of devices on Android 7.1 Nougat.

The new statistics show that Android Marshmallow continues to dominate with up to 32.2 percent share. The distribution share for Android Marshmallow has declined, but fell just 0.1 percent from the last month’s number that stood at 32.3 percent.

In addition to Android Marshmallow, all other Android versions have also declined. These builds include Android Gingerbread (at 0.6 percent share) and Ice Cream Sandwich (with 0.6 percent share) – which both fell 0.1 percent. Jelly Bean at 6.9 percent share, fell 0.7 percent. KitKat, currently at 15.1 percent share, fell 0.9 percent, while Lollipop, with a share of 28.8 percent, fell 0.4 percent.

Google says that this data has been collected during a 7-day period that concluded on September 11, and Android builds with less than 0.1 percent share have been excluded. It should also be kept in mind that Google takes only those Android devices into account that support Google Play (which itself supports Android 2.2 and above).

Google’s latest version Android Oreo officially rolled out to Pixel and Nexus devices a few days ago and it will take more than a month to get itself a substantial share in the Android platform distribution chart, as per recent trends.

The distribution chart also goes on to mention the OpenGL ES distribution amongst the active devices. While the latest OpenGL versions are not there in the chart, a major portion is dominated by OpenGL version 3.0 – standing at 45.8 percent, rising 0.2 percent. The other two versions in the chart are OpenGL 2.0 with 37.3 percent share (declining 0.3 percent) and OpenGL 3.1 with 16.9 percent distribution share (rising 0.1 percent). Note that support for a certain version means that it also supports any lower versions of OpenGL API, Google says in its developers blog post.

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Android Distribution Numbers for September Shows Nougat is Up

Just as expected!

Google has a habit of releasing the Android distribution numbers right after they start rolling out the monthly security update for supported Nexus and Pixel devices. The company did publish their security bulletin details earlier in the month, but it wasn’t until today that we started to see the OTA updates reach consumers. So now that those updates are going out, we now have the updated Android distribution numbers for the 7-day period ending on September 11, 2017.

As always, keep in mind that this data is collected from devices which have visited the Play Store during that 7-day period. So while it’s not a 100% accurate representation, it gives us an idea as to how the Android landscape is laid out when it comes to how many people are running certain versions of Android. Android 7.x Nougat has been taking its time since it was released last year, but we’re now seeing its market share has gone up while everything else has gone down compared to last month.

So to start with, Android 7.x Nougat is now being used on 15.8% of active devices on the market right now. This is up from the 13.5% that we saw it at last month. Android 6.0 Marshmallow actually ended up losing 0.1% this month as it comes in at 32.2% when it was at 32.3% last month. Android 5.x Lollipop dropped down to 28.8% from 29.2% that we saw it at in August. The last of the big contenders is Android 4.4 KitKat, which is at 15.1% now while it was at 16% last month.

So that’s the majority of the state of Android right now. When looking at the leftovers, we can see Android 4.1.x, 4.2.x and 4.3.x Jelly Bean is at 6.9% when it was at 7.6% back in August of 2017. Then 4.0.x Ice Cream Sandwich is at 0.6% (which is down from 0.7% a month before) and lastly Android 2.3.x Gingerbread dropped 0.1% as well from 0.7% down to 0.6% this month.

Android Version August 2017 September 2017
Android Gingerbread 0.7% 0.6%
Android Ice Cream Sandwich 0.7% 0.6%
Android Jelly Bean 7.6% 6.9%
Android KitKat 16% 15.1%
Android Lollipop 29.2% 28.8%
Android Marshmallow 32.3% 32.2%
Android Nougat 13.5% 15.8%

Source: Google

Best Smartphones With Expandable Memory September 2017

Google has been hinting to everyone that they think getting rid of expandable storage is the way to go, but smartphone manufacturers have remained steadfast in their desire to offer this option for folks who refuse to let go. Still, it may be necessary to do some legwork to find quality phones with microSD card slots. Don’t worry about doing it yourself, though, as we’re here to help. Here are the best smartphones with microSD slots.

There’s very little challenging the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus right now. Samsung does it again with big beautiful Infinity Displays (which use a unique 19.5:9 aspect ratio with curvature on each side), great design, fast processing power and the most well-rounded feature set you’re going to find in a smartphone. That includes the use of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 and 4GB of RAM, and more.

Read More

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is widely regarded as the pinnacle of smartphone supremacy. It has almost everything you could want: a big beautiful display, unique multitasking with S-Pen, a fast chipset, tons of RAM, dual cameras, fingerprint scanner, an iris scanner, a heart rate monitor, microSD slot, wireless charging, waterproofing, and the list goes on and on. It’s pricey at a starting point of nearly $1,000, but if you have the coin then there’s no more complete package available on the market.

LG hit its stride with the LG G6 and it remains one of the best options you can go for right now. It boasts a large 5.7-inch display in a unique 18:9 aspect ratio, making it easier to hold while still offering significant screen real estate. It’s also the only phone on the market to support Netflix HDR. As for hardware, it has a Snapdragon 821 chipset, dual 13MP rear cameras, wireless charging, and IP68 water resistance.

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The HTC U11 comes as the cream of the crop for HTC phones. It has a striking new look unlike anything we’ve seen from the company before, and also comes with the internals to have it handle anything you can throw at it, including the latest Snapdragon chipset and 4GB of RAM. And if you happen to be a photographer who needs a beasty camera, there’s little better available on the market as it has the highest rating on DxOMark.

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The LG V20 has a lot of things going for it. Good traits include dual rear cameras, a massive 5.7-inch Quad HD display with a secondary one for support, a Snapdragon 820 chipset, 4GB of RAM, a fingerprint sensor, and more. But battery enthusiasts will love it for one big reason: its 3200mAh battery — while not the biggest available — is removable. That means you can carry around an extra pack or two (or three!) to ensure you can cover whatever stretch of time you need.

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The original Moto G was one of the first phones to show that affordable devices don’t have to be bad. Motorola followed up that phone with another great device. The Moto G5 has a nice 1080p display, capable 13MP camera, an Octa-Core Snapdragon 430, and it runs a nearly stock version of Android Nougat.

More Best Phones

Be sure to explore our other Best Smartphones lists if you have other needs. We break it down by budget, feature, and even carrier. Just want to see the best of the best? That’s on tap, too.

Live Drawings: Get this Note 8 feature on the Galaxy S8 without root

Although it’s hard to find differences between the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and the Galaxy S8 without a magnifying glass, there are a few features unique to the Note 8. Live Drawings are just one example. With Live Drawings you can create little animations of your drawings and send them to your friends. It’s possible to get this feature on a Galaxy S8 now, without root.

Live Drawings are exclusive to the Note series. In the keyboard, you can select the mode and draw animations to send. A particularly resourceful user at the XDA forum has found a way to activate the feature on the S8. Before it was possible only after rooting a phone, but now you can manage it on unrooted phones, too.

s8 livedrawing 2
Live Drawings on the Galaxy S8 / © AndroidPIT

Live Drawings: How to install on the S8

Detailed instructions on how to install the feature on your S8 can be found on the XDA Forum in this thread. There, you’ll also find the APKs to download. Before installing, you have to switch the Safe Start mode in the settings. Then, reboot and install the APKs, then go to your keyboard settings and select the Samsung Neural Keyboard

We tried the procedure, successfully, with a Galaxy S8. It should, of course, work with an S8+ as well. Whether other Android Nougat smartphones from Samsung might support it as well, we’ll have to wait and see.

s8 livedrawing 1
Use Live Drawings with the S8. / © AndroidPIT

Using Live Drawings with the S8: How it works

After successfully installing the feature, you’ll find the Live Drawing function always available using the button just to the left of the space bar. Then, you’ll see a blank slate upon which you can draw a little doodle: an arrow, a heart, a smile or whatever you want to send. You can adjust the color and the pen size, and choose a background image or color to draw on.

Sending the animated drawing is a little less practical. You have to use the sharing menu in your messenger to send the animation if you want to send it via Gmail or other apps, as it’s not simple just to paste it into an email or other sort of message. The animations are accessible across platforms since they’re sent as GIF images, though.

Will you try it out? Let us know how it goes in the comments!

Nova Launcher beta 5.5 finally brings adaptive icons support

One thing’s sure, TeslaCoil Software is incredibly prolific. Hot on the heels of the recent Sesame Shorcuts, Nova Launcher has just added one more awesome feature: adaptive icons. V5.5-beta1 of the popular launcher allows those of us still waiting for Android 8.0 Oreo to enjoy a little taste of adaptive icons a bit early.

There are a few caveats. You’ll need to be running Android Lolipop 5.0 or later, and some icons use assets that will specifically require Android Nougat 7.0+. There are also some known problems right now, like dynamic calendar icons wonk out, and apps that use drawable aliases to support adaptive icons don’t work (yet).

 

Adaptive icons set to round, rounded square, and forced round

It also doesn’t bring a whole lot of consistency, but that’s mostly because so many apps don’t yet have support for adaptive icons. Thankfully, this beta includes support for a forced mode that automatically scales and shapes legacy icons, too.

It’s disabled by default because it can bug out a bit — round icons inside round icons, that sort of thing — so you’ll have to choose between potential iconception or apps that don’t yet work with adaptive icons. It even adds some nice background accent colors, too.

Once you have the update installed, to enable the option just head to Look & feel in Nova’s settings and enable the Adaptive Icons toggle. Under Adaptive Icon Shape, you can select exactly how you’d like your icons to look, and the Mask legacy icons toggle allows you to forcibly enable the icon shape, even on unsupported applications.

The full changelog:

5.5-beta1 Sep 10, 2017

-Adaptive icons for Android 5.0+
-Use and control the style of adaptive icons from apps that support them
-Scale and reshape legacy/existing icons to match the adaptive style
-Minor fixes

The beta was only just released so it might take a bit for the update to show up on the Play Store. If you’d like to give it a try, you’ll need to opt-in to the beta (if you haven’t already), and wait for the 5.5-beta1 update to land. If you can’t wait for the update to hit on Google Play, you can also download it over on APK Mirror.

Nova Launcher
Nova Launcher

OEMs are Required to Implement Data Saver Mode in Android Oreo

As with a lot of new features added into Android Nougat, Data Saver Mode was a new feature that was only recommended by Google. This Data Saver feature that Google added to Android does more than just restrict background data usage though. It’s an actual API that allows some applications to continue to function as long as they limit data usage. After reviewing the updated Compatibility Definition Document for Android Oreo, we can see that Data Saver Mode is now required for handheld devices that include a metered connection.

On top of Treble requiring the biggest architectural change to Android ever, the engineers at Google have been working to improve battery life as well. They have been easing into this process with Doze Mode in Marshmallow and then expanded this feature in Nougat too. JobScheduler debuted in Lollipop and is now an integral component to saving battery life and keeping applications in a deep sleep mode with the new Android Oreo update.

Google’s goal here is to give Android devices multi-day battery life and this requires certain limitations. On top of the work Google has been doing here, they also want to give more control to those who own an Android device too. As part of the Compatibility Definition Document for Android Nougat, Google had only “strongly recommended” that an OEM include Data Saver Mode on their handheld devices which included a metered connection.

To Google, a handheld device is something like an MP3 player, smartphone or tablet. It is considered handheld when it comes with a power source that provides mobility (such as a battery), and also has a screen size in the range of 2.5 inches to 8 inches. If an OEM releases a device that meets these requirements and uses Android Oreo then it must include Data Saver Mode if it also has the ability to use a metered connection (aka a cellular network).

Allo’s in-chat translation feature is rolling out to everybody, v18 also brings adaptive icons [APK Download]

Language is officially no longer a barrier for Allo users, message translation is now rolling out to users everywhere. First discovered back in July with a teardown of v14, translation can be done by long-pressing a message and tapping the Google Translate icon appearing in the title bar at the top. You can also hide the translation with another long-press and a tap on an undo icon.

Translation doesn’t require Allo v18, which just began rolling out today, it works at least as far back as v17. In fact, it could even be activated before Google enabled it by using a simple hack (on rooted phones), but it may not have been ready for prime time until now. Since the rollout occurred, I can see it working on both v17 and v18 in group chats, but the button doesn’t appear in one-on-one conversations on v17.

It’s not really clear if everybody has access to translation yet or if this is a staged rollout, but everybody I’ve checked with has it. Unfortunately, there’s no easier way to activate it yet, but maybe we’ll see a more fluid option in the future.

 

Left: Standard icon. Right: Some variations on adaptive icons.

Aside from making sure translation works in solo chats, the only other change we’ve spotted in today’s release of v18 is support for round and adaptive icons on Android Nougat and Oreo, respectively. Duo also switched over to adaptive icons a little over a week ago, so it was pretty inevitable Allo would follow soon enough.

Teardown

Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android’s application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information. It’s possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong. Even when predictions are correct, there is always a chance that plans could change or may be canceled entirely. Much like rumors, nothing is certain until it’s officially announced and released.
The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don’t expect to see these features if you install the apk.

Opera support for the web?

This one is a bit flimsy, but the Opera web browser icon and a basic text title were just added to the resources from this update. There’s no specific information to back this up, but a look through the decompiled code and a couple of clues hint that it’s probably going to show up once the web client adds support for Opera. At this time, only Chrome is officially supported.

Download

The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.

Version: 18.0.023_RC06

Google Allo
Google Allo