Google has added text to the Pixel Launcher search box for some, and nobody wants it

By Scott Scrivens

Google is no stranger to testing both warranted and unwarranted design changes in its apps on normal users, so this comes as no surprise. This time Google is testing a small change to the Pixel Launcher, but it’s one that nobody asked for, and seemingly nobody wants it either.

Someone at Google must thinkthat people need reminding what the search box does. Not content with putting it prominently within reach of everyone’s thumb at the bottom of the launcher, Google is now toying with putting text inside that reads either “Search apps and web…” or simply “Search…” – just in case you had no idea what it’s for.

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Google has added text to the Pixel Launcher search box for some, and nobody wants it was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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We're giving away the Honor 7X — Enter now!

By Michelle Haag

If you’re after a stylish phone that doesn’t skimp on performance or features, the Honor 7X is absolutely worth a look. And we’re giving one away!

The Honor 7X has flagship looks and an enjoyable, high-performance Android experience in a chassis that’s just as desirable as phones costing twice as much.

And now you can win one!

THE PRIZE: One Android Central reader will be taking home a brand new Honor 7X in black!

THE GIVEAWAY: To enter, use the widget at the bottom of this page. Keep in mind that all winning entries are verified and if the task was not completed or cannot be verified, a new winner will be chosen. The prize does not include service.

The giveaway is open until December 31st, and the winner will be announced right here shortly after the close date. Good luck!

Enter to win an Honor 7X in the Happy Honor Days giveaway!

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Awesome Finds Gift Guide

By Jared DiPane

Team Thrifter looks at a ton of cool products every day – but these few are some of the most interesting we’ve seen in a while, like the RokBlok portable record player that spins around your record, and Klutz’s Lego Chain Reaction kit.

Bose SoundWear wireless speaker
When speakers are too distracting and headphones are too uncomfortable, the SoundWear is your solution for listening to music up close without being a nuisance to everyone else in the room. It plays the music directly into your ears while comfortably sitting around your neck.

Klutz Lego chain reaction crafts kit
This kit starts with a book and a few Lego pieces, but it ends up teaching you a whole new way to use Lego that you’ve never thought about before.

Marshall Kilburn portable Bluetooth speaker
Marshall speakers have a unique look that makes them just as at home in your living room as they are on the beach. They produce plenty of sound, and the rechargeable battery lasts up to 20 hours.

1000 Record Covers
After decades upon decades of music, record covers have come to be seen as an art all their own. This book is a collection of 1,000 legendary covers in one awesome book.

Oliver Rocket Bath Bomb Set
Know someone in your life who hasn’t tried a bath bomb yet? Give them this gift set and soon enough they’ll be wondering how they ever took baths without it.

RokBlok portable record player
Vinyl doesn’t have to be complicated. Listen to your favorite records by just placing the RokBlok on top and pulling the lever. You can even pair it with a more powerful Bluetooth speaker. It’s really that easy.

U by Moen smart shower controller
A controller like this might have a high barrier for entry since it needs a custom installation, but how awesome would it be to have a system warm up your water and then let you know when it’s ready to go so you aren’t wasting water?

PetCube Bites HD Pet Camera and Treat dispenser

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ CAD renders have arrived, and they look just as you'd expect

By Scott Scrivens

Leaking smartphones is big business these days. Usually, the first information to slip out comes in the form of schematics or technical diagrams of some kind, and in the case of the Samsung Galaxy S9, those surfaced a few days ago. Next up, we’re often treated to unofficial CAD renders of the device based on earlier leaked info. Right on cue, we now have such renders showing what the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are predicted to look like.

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Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ CAD renders have arrived, and they look just as you’d expect was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Daniel's Favorite Things of 2017

By Daniel Bader

Daniel’s Favorite Tech of 2017

2017 was a great year for tech — and for drinking great coffee. Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy both.

Google Pixel 2

There have been many negative things written about Google’s Pixel 2 since its October launch, but like many things on the internet, much of it is overblown or outright wrong. The reality is that, for me at least, the Pixel 2 is the best phone I’ve ever used. It does everything I need it to do, and does it quickly, reliably, and continuously for many hours at a time. Android 8.x and HTC’s hardware combine for an unimpeachable experience: from solid call quality (on VoLTE) to consistent data speeds, excellent speaker sound, reliable Bluetooth and all the other things the initial Pixel was dinged for, I can’t remember the last time I just picked up a phone and forgot about the phone. Except when I open the camera — then I remember how phenomenal Google’s software is. At $649, this is a must-buy.

$649 Buy Now

Moto G5 Plus

While Motorola has offered great devices for less than its competitors for years now, the Moto G5 Plus stood out as an extraordinary move forward for the company. With an impressive spec sheet, excellent build quality and an outstanding camera for its $229 price, the Moto G5 Plus is my budget pick of the year. You can’t go wrong with its slightly-beefier (but not much better IMO) Moto G5S Plus counterpart, too.

from $199 Buy Now

Netgear Orbi mesh router system

With just a main access point and a single satellite, the Netgear Orbi may not constitute a mesh router solution, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t pass for one. In my house, which is taller and narrow, I went from unreliable, spotty 2.4GHz and non-existent 5GHz service anywhere but the main floor to gigabit speeds everywhere I went. The Netgear app isn’t quite as good as Eero’s, but here’s the thing: I haven’t had to reset the system once since installing it nine months ago. This system is a steal at $350.

$350 Buy now

Nintendo Switch

I’m not a huge gamer, which is why the Nintendo Switch surprised even me with its multitudinous reasons to love it. I never dreamed that I’d be able to play games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Mario Odyssey on a plane, but here we are and — I’ll be right back, gotta play — it’s pretty remarkable. The best part about the Switch is that it’s finally bringing some great third-party titles to Nintendoland, which is exciting for someone who would love to buy the kinds of innovative indie titles that grace PC, Xbox and PlayStation these days. Stardew Valley is a start, but let’s keep it going!

$299 <a target="_blank" …read more



Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL — which one should you choose?

By Joe Maring

Our forum users help answer the question of Pixel 2 vs Pixel 2 XL.

As different as they may look at first glance, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL share far more similarities compared to the differences that set them apart. Both phones have the same cameras, processor, front-facing speakers, and software experience, but there are two key areas where they differ – display and battery life.

One individual recently reached out to our forum community asking whether they should go for the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, and these are some of the top answers.

12-14-2017 11:27 PM

It really just comes down to screen size. If you want one handed use, get the Pixel 2. If you like a bigger display, get the 2 XL.


12-14-2017 11:58 PM

It also decided on how pocketable you need your device to be. If you need to one hand stuff then obviously the pixel. I don’t one there’s been lots of problems with the 2XL… But it’s a great phone. Tough choice….1st world problems.


12-14-2017 10:25 PM

I spent a long time with the demo unit Pixel 2 XL at Best Buy tonight and seriously, there’s no issues with the screen. The demo unit didn’t even have any burn in, which was surprising. I put my S8 Active’s screen next to the screen on the Pixel 2 XL, and yes, even though the colors on the S8 Active were punchier, I preferred the color on the Pixel 2 XL. My S8 Active had the same amount of…

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Grab a new messenger bag or backpack during Amazon's one-day Timbuk2 sale

By John Levite

Carry your stuff from here to Ti…. well, you know.

Amazon is having a huge one-day sale on Timbuk2 backpacks and bags. This sale includes messenger bags, backpacks and duffel bags, like the Command Laptop Messenger Bag. In the Surplus color and Large size, it’s going for $83 compared to a regular price of $159. It has never gone that low before.

Not all sizes and colors on sale, so here’s a few that are with the specific qualities to look for:

This is an Amazon Gold Box deal so this sale ends today. Check out the full list.

See on Amazon

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In-display fingerprint sensor launching first on a Vivo phone

By Joe Maring

Vivo will be the first smartphone to use the Clear ID FS9500.

On December 12, Synaptics (one of the biggest names in the biometric industry) announced that it was finally ready to start mass-producing the first-ever fingerprint sensor that’s hidden underneath a smartphone display. Synaptics initially said that this technology would first be available on a smartphone from one of the “top 5” OEMs, and we now know that that OEM is none other than Vivo.

Synaptics is using its new Clear ID FS9500 sensor to make this all possible, and according to Forbes reporter Patrick Moorhead, using the new sensor is “fast and simple.” The sensor doesn’t actually turn on until you’re ready to use it to help conserve battery life, and when you do go to unlock your phone, you’ll see a fingerprint icon near the bottom of your phone’s display.

Just put your finger on this icon (that OEMs can customize the look of) and your phone will be unlocked with the same level of security and convenience we’ve come to expect from sensors on current handsets.

Vivo’s unnamed smartphone will be the first to market with Synaptics’ Clear ID FS9500, but it shouldn’t be too long after that in which we see other OEMs adopt this technology as well. It’s highly unlikely Samsung will feature this technology on the Galaxy S9, but there’s a very good possibility it’ll make an appearance on the Note 9 later in 2018.

Synaptics announces world’s first in-display fingerprint sensor, launching with a ‘top 5’ smartphone OEM

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Listen to your favorite tunes wherever you are with ZeroLemon's waterproof ToughSound speaker [Sponsored Post]

By A Word From Our Sponsor

Portable speakers are great, but not all of them can handle tough environments. Maybe you want to listen to music in the shower, catch up on podcasts while you’re biking home, or listen to the radio at the pool. For any of those situations, or anywhere else you would need a waterproof and durable speaker, ZeroLemon has you covered with its ToughSound portable Bluetooth speaker.

The ToughSound is an IPX8-rated waterproof portable Bluetooth speaker, complete with a shockproof design.

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Listen to your favorite tunes wherever you are with ZeroLemon’s waterproof ToughSound speaker [Sponsored Post] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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