With Android 12L getting detailed this morning, designed to take advantage of larger screens found on tablets and foldables, we’re left wondering when we can expect new hardware from Google. It’s funny, I know, we get the new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro this week, but what can I say, we love new-new stuff.
Android 12L makes us think, though — if Google were to focus on releasing new tablet or foldable hardware, which would you prefer? We are of the belief, thanks to past leaks, that Google is for sure going to release a foldable device at some point. Will it be any good? That’s tough to say. Samsung put outs its best foldable devices on its third attempt in the Z Fold 3 and Flip 3, and I’m not sure Google has the patience to go three rounds trying to make a decent foldable device. In my eyes, the first one needs to be killer or they could abandon the project.
As for a Pixel tablet, it’s hard to justify that Google should make one, considering Android tablets in general have never been all that desirable. And it goes beyond the OS and hardware. There just doesn’t seem to be a ton of app developer support for Android tablets, likely because developers see most of the money over on iOS and iPads. That’s not to say Google shouldn’t give it a shot, but it would be an uphill battle.
What do you think? Have any thoughts on the Pixel tablet vs. Pixel foldable debate?
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Is Anyone Using Google Chat?
Leaving Google Hangouts for another messaging platform was a once-unimaginable idea. My entire family (and most friends) had all bought into Google’s most important messaging app over the years because it was simple to use through a Google account and worked on all platforms. Of course, we know the story there and that Hangouts is now all-but-dead. For many of us, that has meant deciding whether or not to use Google’s replacement or finding something else.
The replacement for Hangouts is Google Chat (not to be confused with RCS “Chat” within Google Messages), a capable messaging app that brought over our conversations from Hangouts, has a modern look and features, and should continue to be a big part of Google’s messaging path going forward. I’d love to sit here and tell you that it is a great app and that you should be using it, but I left the system long ago and never looked back.
In March of 2021, when Google still wouldn’t let everyone into Chat and left long-time Hangouts users on an aging, slowly-dying, and feature-stripped messaging platform, I decided it was time to move on. I picked Telegram because it was simple to sign-up for, worked on multiple devices at a time, and was easy to access on any platform. It’s a ridiculously good messaging app.
I had a quick conversation with the family about moving over to it and they (probably foolishly too often) listened to me because I’m a tech bro. They all seemed to figure it out without much work and are now into sharing (too many) stickers and GIFs, posting pictures to group chats, and finding usefulness in other features, like links that actually show information.
But this isn’t about Telegram. It’s about Google Chat. You see, I certainly gave Chat a chance on a couple of occasions. I was allowed in to use it early on, I think because I brute-forced my way. I just never like the way it presented messages, as they were often difficult to sort if in a lengthy conversation with multiple people. It has (obviously) been built for big Google Meet users and a business-focused setting where you might use it keep up with work tasks and calendar invites. It also didn’t have a bunch of fun stuff to play with and isn’t updated with new goodies nearly as often as Telegram. Google Chat comes off as a work tool (because it is) – for personal messaging, using a work tool is not a thing I ever want to do.
Today, as I see Google push out yet another minor feature to Google Chat, I wonder how many are using it. I’m surprised we haven’t asked this before, so it’s probably time we do that. Are you using Google Chat? Why did you stick around and whaat do you like about it? If not, what’d you switch to from Hangouts?
Google TV Gets Its Profiles
Google TV, the slick TV-focused operating system skin from Google that runs on its cute little Chromecast with Google TV dongle, is getting profiles this week. You may be thinking that sounds familiar, and well yeah, that’s because profiles were announced in October of last year. They are really here this time, though, we think.
In October, because Google told us to expect profiles “soon,” we explained them this way and told you how setup would work:
With profiles on Google TV, Google is giving each person recommendations based on interests and preferences, access to an individual watchlist, and recommendation help from Google Assistant, again, based on your personalized tastes. So going forward, when you fire up that little baby Google TV remote, you’ll be able to choose your own account to get to watching.
To setup a new profile, you should be able to swipe over to your account icon (top right), and then add another account, just like you would if you were trying to add a kid profile.
Fun! So when exactly can you get profiles up and running? Google would only commit to begin rolling out today, with rollout taking place to all users “over the next few weeks.” You may see the option today or it may be weeks out. Either way, rollout has apparently started.
Galaxy Watch 4 Owners, Google Assistant Arrives
Samsung and Google took their time, but Google Assistant is now available on the Galaxy Watch 4 series (So much for this summer?). After almost a year of waiting, Google Assistant arrives as an app that can be installed on either Watch 4 model to then be accessed as a voice assistant from the wrist.
The introduction of Google Assistant after all this time does not mean that Samsung’s Bixby is going anywhere. Instead, the two companies are talking about how you will be able to access both Bixby and Google Assistant.
Using Google Assistant from a Galaxy Watch 4 means getting help with on-the-go questions and “access to fast, more natural voice interactions,” according to Samsung. Let’s just hope it works more seamlessly as a stand-alone app than it does on all of the other non-Samsung Wear OS watches who have had pretty lackluster Assistant experiences over the years.
As far as availability, rollout begins today in 10 markets: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, The UK and USA.
At the time of this post, we still aren’t seeing Assistant available to our Galaxy Watch 4 units. Once it shows up and we have a better understanding of how to get it up and running, we’ll share those details. Verizon slipped a month ago and showed a potential setup guide, which you can still view here.
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