1496 articles published since February 28, 2013
About Cody Toombs
Cody has been a contributor to Android Police for nearly ten years. While best known for writing hundreds of APK Teardowns and breaking news on many of Google’s new products and services, he also covers deeper technical topics about the inner workings of Android, app development, and security. Cody is a software engineer and consultant with two decades of experience developing mobile and enterprise applications. He has written code for quite a few projects within the Android community, in addition to working with many companies, including Microsoft and Intel. In addition to writing, Cody is a regular podcaster and has made appearances on CNN, All About Android, and Tech News Today. Cody is also an active photographer and videographer, occasional gamer, and an all-around decent human.
There's plenty to watch at home these days, and we're rounding up the best (and worst) movies you can stream
Streaming services have taken over as one of the best ways to catch the latest movies. Whether they're making a stop in theaters before rolling out digital rentals or they launch as first-run originals from the likes of Netflix, Apple TV, or HBO; we're rounding up the best titles so you're not left in the dark — until it's time to start the film, that is. Check back each week (usually on Friday) to see the latest additions for movies that are now available to stream, the latest theatrical releases, and movies coming next week.
The first smartphone gimbal from Insta360 is doing almost everything right
Just as smartphones have become increasingly capable pocket cameras, smartphone gimbals have evolved quite a bit over the years, moving beyond merely stabilizing your videos to becoming smart robots that do the shooting for you. Even so, recent models have been a bit stagnant, leaving many asking if they’re just repackaged versions of the previous generation.
Fewer frills and lower cost
Owning a NAS has become significantly more common over the last few years, largely due to a rise in remote work and the popularity of maintaining a local digital content library. TerraMaster has made a name for itself in this market with a lineup of NAS boxes with specs that match or exceed many of the best Synology NAS solutions while keeping prices lower. The F4-423 4-bay NAS fits this theme well with a pair of 2.5GbE ports and a GPU for transcoding. The software is simpler and doesn’t have as many features compared to products from the likes of Synology, but that makes it more approachable as a network file server.
They're pricy, but it's justified by great sound and features
It’s easy to find great true wireless earbuds, but most of them feel very similar, lacking anything interesting to stand out from the crowd. However, Poly’s new Voyager Free 60 series is taking a stab at enlightening the experience with a case featuring touchscreen controls and a mind-blowing set of features. While these buds are marketed toward corporate buyers, and even feature certifications for the top video chat services, they’re pretty great for just about everybody, as long as you can stomach the price — or get your employer to cover it.
The Play Store is launching A/B testing for IAP pricing
When it comes to pricing a product, developers often have to make a best guess and hope it works out. If they try to charge too much, it may scare off many potential paying customers. Asking too little may result in thin profits that may become unsustainable. The Google Play team has taken note of this challenge and built a new tool to make it possible for developers to perform A/B testing on prices for in-app purchases. Of course, for users these experiments may lead to unexpected changes in pricing, or even being asked to pay different amounts than their friends.
Waze and YouTube are also making an arrival on cars with Google built-in
Google has made major inroads to our vehicles thanks to the success of Android Auto, which is on track to be in more than two-hundred million cars this year. Just as Google’s original project is about to cross this major milestone, its successor is on the way to completely changing how we think of in-car infotainment systems. Cars with Google built-in will see some major new features this year.
Generative AI will be writing everything from descriptions to review summaries
Like so many of the announcements during this year’s Google I/O, AI has been the star of the show and it’s turning up in almost everything. The Play Store is taking part in the action with its own set of new features, and some of them are going to make a lot of sense. While most of the announcements are directed at developers, users will see benefits from almost everything.
The original was already very good, it just needed a few adjustments
OnePlus set a high bar with last year’s release of the Nord Buds, which are generally some of the best budget wireless earbuds on the market. They were priced at an almost suspiciously low $39, but delivered pretty clear sound and a set of features that would be good enough for most users. Despite having more expensive and flashier options, they’ve even become one of my go-to pairs of earbuds.
Matches many of the features of premium cameras, but cloud storage isn’t great
Reolink is a well-known name and among the best outdoor security cameras. With a series of models for both indoor and outdoor use, each offering distinct options, it’s easy to find a camera to cover your needs. The new Argus 3 Pro strikes a great balance between features for an outdoor security camera, while coming in at a price below many premium cameras with the same features. While it’s a solid camera, Reolink’s cloud hosting service needs some work.
Sign in with just a couple taps
Password managers are a staple for surviving the modern Internet, but Google and Apple have been promoting a world in which users won’t need to memorize passwords or worry about hackers stealing all of your credentials. While the road to a passwordless future isn’t exactly finished, Google released a new tool that will make it easier for app developers to offer a simple sign-in experience in their apps, regardless of the type of credentials that are required for the account.
About 25% cheaper than the Pro model with very few sacrifices
DJI had an instant hit with the launch of the Mini 3 Pro, a sub-250g drone with a great camera and all of the features suited to compete directly with all but the most expensive drone in the lineup. Despite its popularity, the Mini 3 Pro also came with a pretty big price increase that went above the budget for many potential buyers. Today, DJI is back with a new non-Pro variant of the Mini 3, sporting most of the same virtues of the Pro model, but at a significantly lower price.
And that's why you always need to install your security patches, folks
Right on schedule, Google released its November security update for Pixel phones — and to look at the short list of user-facing changes, it would appear that this is little more than a routine release to address a few bugs, including fixes to reduce power consumption, screen flickers, and an occasional app crash. However, this update also fixes a pretty serious vulnerability that could allow a person to bypass the lockscreen of many Android phones in less than a minute without any software or special tools.
It's great at just about everything but being a Plex server
NAS systems have long been common appliances in businesses and the homes of cable cutters. They’ve grown even more popular over the last few years as many professionals shifted to working from home, while others have chosen to move their files to private storage rather than rely on cloud services. Synology’s new DS1522+ is a high-performance model designed for small businesses, video editors, and many data hoarders.
Sony’s best 1-inch sensor is paired with Leica’s M-series lenses
Smartphones have been slowly encroaching on the territory of dedicated cameras for the last decade. The combination of rapidly improving camera sensors and very clever software has broken many of the long-held rules of digital imaging. However, the larger sensors and interchangeable lenses have allowed dedicated cameras to retain the lead in image quality. Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi is experimenting with building the first smartphone to truly support interchangeable lenses, and it looks pretty incredible — even if you'll probably never get to buy it.
Listings and recommendations should become more useful
While the Android Dev Summit takes a week off before diving into the subject of form factors, the Google Play team is announcing some new capabilities for app developers that will subtly impact how users experience the Play Store. Some of the changes will give more visibility and promotion to some apps while blocking some others from appearing in recommendations, and you may even see some app listings change descriptions just for you.
Developers shouldn’t have to dread yearly OS updates anymore thanks to the new Android SDK Upgrade Assistant
Google is kicking off its annual Android Dev Summit with a welcome lineup of updates, new development libraries, and enhanced tooling. This year's big talking points feature Jetpack Compose, Material Design 3, and Android Studio Flamingo, but most of the individual form factors are also making appearances.
Despite some weak points, this is a great phone for $220
When a budget-friendly carrier-exclusive phone is announced, it’s natural to expect a lot of red flags. T-Mobile has been launching self-branded phones under the REVVL brand for several years, and as spec-to-price value continues to increase, it’s only producing better results over time. The new REVVL 6 Pro 5G is the latest to join this series, and thanks to a combination of software, performance, and battery life, it’s turning out to be one of the best budget phones I’ve ever used.
Professionals are putting all the power of our common gadgets to use
Smartphone cameras may be making impressive progress thanks to computational photography and plenty of innovation in sensor technology, but they're still not usually chosen for shooting professional photos and videos like we see in the movies we rent and stream. Dedicated cameras with large sensors and top-tier lenses remain the obvious choice at that level, but smartphones and tablets have been creeping into the production process. Gear makers are regularly inventing new ways to turn our pocket-sized gadgets into indispensable accessories for photography and filmmaking.
The near-perfect drone for almost everybody
The first generation Mavic Mini was a great drone in its time, packing DJI’s smart design and technology into a tiny body that falls just under the weight limit that would require registration in many countries. It was great for casual exploration, but a lack of features and a mediocre camera held it back from being useful for much else. The release of the Mini 2 (sans ‘Mavic’ branding) brought near feature parity with the higher-end models and a substantially better camera, but the image quality was still not quite up to the standards of pixel peepers. Now DJI is pushing beyond normal iterative upgrades with its latest model, the DJI Mini 3 Pro, pairing the tiny frame with a much more powerful camera and a new gimbal that rotates 90 degrees for vertical video.
Also modernizes several policies about misinformation, impersonation, and monetization
Google Play regularly revises its policies in response to both new and old problems that can be found among apps in the marketplace. Many of the changes may only impact developers, with some will also having indirect effects that show up for users; but there are a few that many people will benefit from right away.