In this week’s top stories: Google Phone gains a new Caller ID announcement feature, Android 12 Beta 1 arrives for Pixels and beyond, Nest Thermostats gain a C wire adapter, and more.
In some parts of the world this week, the Google Phone app — which is usually the default dialer on Android devices — got a new feature, allowing your phone to speak incoming calls aloud. While admittedly a basic feature, hearing a name and phone number aloud can in some cases be far more helpful than just the sound of your ringtone.
To enable the new feature you can open Google Phone > Settings > Caller ID announcement. The “Announce caller ID” is disabled by default but you can choose between “Always,” “Only when using a headset,” or “Never.” In conjunction with the blocking options, this should help you manage unwanted calls with much more precision.
Most of the biggest news in the Google world this week came from Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference. At the event, Google unleashed the Android 12 Beta onto owners of Pixel devices and phones from other OEMs like OnePlus. As always, our team has dutifully catalogued every change in Beta 1 compared to Android 12 Developer Preview 3.
If the new Assistant lock button shortcut is enabled, you cannot currently access Cards & passes, Device controls, or even the power menu. Google Pay cards and smart home access will eventually appear in Quick settings, but that’s not the case yet in Beta 1. That should be fixed in a later beta.
The other biggest piece of consumer news coming out of I/O is that Google has partnered with Samsung on the next version of Wear OS. Set to launch later this year, the new Wear OS has been promised to bring the best of Tizen — the OS that powers most Samsung Galaxy Watches — and Google’s recently-acquired Fitbit.
By working with Samsung and Tizen, there is faster performance (up to 30% on “latest chipsets”), longer battery life, and a “thriving developer community” for third-party apps. The unified platform remains available for all device makers and allows them to add a “customized user experience”/skin.
Outside of the main Google I/O festivities, the Made by Google leak cycle took another step forward with trusted leaker OnLeaks confirming the design of the Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 6. With new renders, we get a better look at the details of Google’s 2021 flagships, including a loose idea of their camera arrangements and dimensions.
What’s especially notable about this leak is that it gives us insight into the size of Google’s next phone. After offering only smaller devices in 2020, the “Pixel 6 Pro” represents a splash into the big-phone market with a 6.67-inch display, the biggest size ever on a Pixel phone if it turns out to be true. That comes with 163.9 x 75.8 x 8.9mm dimensions, a considerable increase over 153.9 x 74 x 8.2mm Pixel 4a 5G, which is the company’s largest phone currently.
In another bit of Made by Google news, the company launched a new “Nest Power Connector” which helps those whose AC systems don’t have a “C wire” to better install a Nest Thermostat. While the connector is optional, it offers a constant source of power instead of relying on a battery to operate while the HVAC system isn’t actively running.
This $24.99 accessory is an alternative to “hiring an electrician to install a new C wire through your walls.” Google also presents it as better than third-party C wire adapters that can “cause problems or damage your Nest thermostat, even if they claim to be Nest compatible.”
The rest of this week’s top stories follow:
Apps & Updates |
Chrome / OS |
Made by Google |
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