Android

OPPO Retractable Camera wants to fix wobbly phones

OPPO Retractable Camera wants to fix wobbly phones

Camera bumps have become a point of distinction for smartphones these days rather than just a functional part of the design. A mobile camera's design is defined and constrained by the sensors and lenses they hold inside, which often results in bulky constructions that jut out from a phone's body. That, in turn, gives the phone an uneven back that presents certain usability problems. While work continues on shrinking those hardware components, OPPO is presenting an interesting solution that makes at least one of those big cameras move in and out of the body like a '90s point-and-shoot camera.

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TCL Fold and Slide prototype phone combines tech’s best and worst

TCL Fold and Slide prototype phone combines tech’s best and worst

Foldable phones, at least the book-like ones, are designed to solve the problem of size. These are phones that try to still fit in your pocket while offering a larger screen when needed. Even with the most advanced foldable devices on the market today, we're still far from the ideal, and no rollable alternative has yet found footing in a consumer-friendly release. Ever the display visionary, TCL came up with an idea to solve that size puzzle using both designs, and it is showing off a working prototype that could have you both amazed and worried at the same time.

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Pixel 6a dummy leak confirms the loss of a beloved feature

Pixel 6a dummy leak confirms the loss of a beloved feature

The Pixel 6 is notable for many things, and one of those is its unique and rather quirky design. Bringing back a visor-like look that it first used on the Huawei-made Nexus 6P, Google gave the Pixel 6 series some personality that sets it apart from the competition. There have already been rumors that the Pixel 6a will follow suit, which is definitely a good thing. Unfortunately, the Pixel 6a could closely follow the Pixel 6 as well in one rather unfortunate way for fans of the Pixel "a" series.

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Pixel Feature Drop revealed with Snapchat, digital key and other treats

Pixel Feature Drop revealed with Snapchat, digital key and other treats

The latest Pixel Feature Drop has been confirmed, with Google promising fresh safety, convenience, and other features for phones as far back as the Pixel 3a. Previewed, in part, at Google's big Pixel event in October, there's the new Snapchat integrations with the Android camera, along with the activation of ultra-wideband on the newest Pixel 6 Pro.

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Fairphone 4 proves repairability and durability can coexist

Fairphone 4 proves repairability and durability can coexist

Smartphones in recent years have become more powerful, more sophisticated, more luxurious, and at the same time also more durable. It is actually scandalous if a flagship smartphone doesn't boast an IP68 dust and water resistance rating, even though OnePlus continues to push back against what it insists is an expensive and non-essential certification. That durability and reliability, however, are often achieved by sealing the phone shut, making repairs more difficult than necessary. The Fairphone 4, however, is challenging those assumptions, and JerryRigEverything is putting it to the test to prove its assertions.

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Affordable foldable OPPO phone tipped right around the corner

Affordable foldable OPPO phone tipped right around the corner

Samsung clearly wants to make foldable devices mainstream, and, at the moment, it has a bit of a monopoly in that niche market. There are other options, of course, but Huawei's Mate X2 and Xiaomi's Mi Mix Fold aren't as widely available outside of China, and Royole's FlexPai 2 appearing in the wild is practically unheard of. Those won't be the only players in the foldable smartphone arena soon, however, and after years of teasing, OPPO might finally dive into the fray as early as next week.

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Google Pixel account hacks prompt outcry over mail-in repair privacy

Google Pixel account hacks prompt outcry over mail-in repair privacy

The past two years have seen a surge in demand for mobile devices, but acquiring them hasn't exactly been easy. Trying to get devices serviced may have been even worse, with many companies and service centers being forced to resort to mail-in methods. Those always come with some risks while the phone is in transit, but few owners probably expected that their privacy would be violated in the process. That's the nightmare situation that at least two Google Pixel owners have found themselves in, one with rather sensitive information published for the world to see.

The first incident flew under the radar after it was posted on Reddit last week. The account and post were removed, but Android Police was able to take a snapshot of the complaint for evidence. In a nutshell, the OP (original poster) claimed that his wife sent her broken Pixel phone in for repairs using Google's official mail-in service and discovered that nude photos from the phone were posted to the wife's social media account.

In this case, the Pixel couldn't be turned on in order to wipe the phone clean before handing it over for repairs, as Google advises. It wasn't clear but probably implied that the phone didn't have any security lock option set. It was, in other words, fair game for anyone who could repair the phone, which was what allegedly happened in this case.

The matter would have been written off as a fluke if it weren't for a second incident, this time involving a more popular user, game designer and best-selling author Jane McGonigal. The scenario was slightly similar, except that the hijacker couldn't find any incriminating images to use. The culprit in this case changed her email settings so that security warnings from Gmail and Dropbox would either be sent to spam or deleted.

Google is reportedly looking into the matter, but the case is still wide open. Of course, two incidents don't make a pattern, but it is suspicious that both cases involved an authorized service provider in Texas. Even just one of these, however, is enough to land Google in court, just as how Apple had to settle a similar case earlier this year (via The Verge) to the tune of millions of dollars.

Google does give instructions on what to do before handing over a Pixel phone for repairs, including doing a factory reset and securing your phone. Of course, that's not always possible, especially if the phone wouldn't turn on or if the screen is completely blank. It's always advised to put a screen lock on the phone, even something as simple as a passcode, but the lack of such a security measure is never an excuse for any authorized party to break into private property and steal things.

Android 12L tablet-friendly OS starts here, with Lenovo

Android 12L tablet-friendly OS starts here, with Lenovo

Google made a rather unexpected but definitely welcomed announcement in late October that puts a better focus on Android running on large screens, which included not just tablets but also everyone's favorite foldables. Of course, the easiest devices to target with Android 12L are tablets, so it's probably no surprise that a tablet is also the first to get the special spin's first developer preview. As announced back then, the Lenovo Tab P12 Pro is getting that preferential treatment, but its availability almost makes it pretty pointless for many developers.

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Google brings Family Bell and BMW Digital Key to Android smartphones

Google brings Family Bell and BMW Digital Key to Android smartphones

To help you get more out of the upcoming holidays, Google is rolling out a few features that, while not entirely new, are making their first appearances on Android. The features cover a variety of categories, including new widgets to make an Android smartphone's home screen more useful, simplified reminders for the entire family, and even the ability to lock and unlock certain cars with a Pixel 6.

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Broken Amazon Appstore on Android 12 may mean trouble for Windows 11 [UPDATE]

Broken Amazon Appstore on Android 12 may mean trouble for Windows 11 [UPDATE]

It might not exactly be common knowledge, but Amazon, despite its notorious rivalry with Google, actually distributes Android devices and apps. In fact, it actually rivals Google in that area as well, with its own ecosystem of Android apps and services revolving around its own Android Appstore. That said, Amazon may not actually be known in the Android world for keeping up with Google updates, and a recent issue with that could have implications for one of Windows 11's headlining features.

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Samsung Galaxy A13 5G gives AT&T a $250 5G option worth considering

Samsung Galaxy A13 5G gives AT&T a $250 5G option worth considering

Samsung has revealed its most affordable 5G phone in the US, with the Galaxy A13 5G carrying a mere $249.99 price tag. Headed to AT&T at the end of the week, the A13 pairs a trio of rear cameras with a sizable display, and despite the low price still uses a 90 Hz adaptive refresh rate panel.

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Chrome OS 96 brings more camera features and Android Nearby Share

Chrome OS 96 brings more camera features and Android Nearby Share

Although Google is perhaps best known for Android as far as operating systems go, it does have a number of platforms under its name. Chrome OS is perhaps one of the most sophisticated because of the number of other operating systems it can support, including Linux and Android. In some aspects, however, Chrome OS feels like it's still catching up to what some of its peers already have. With the latest version 96, Google Chrome OS is getting quite a few of those, including an almost unique ability to control an external camera.

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