In this week’s top stories: Play Movies & TV app to be shut down on Roku and other smart TVs, Android Auto gains a manual day/night toggle, we offer first impressions of the OnePlus Watch, and more.
This week, Google announced that the long-standing Play Movies & TV app is shutting down on June 15 for non-Android smart TV platforms including those from Roku, LG, Samsung, and Vizio. In its place, the YouTube app on each of those platforms is able to watch content purchased/rented from the Play Movies & TV or Google TV apps on your phone.
Notably, platforms such as Android TV aren’t mentioned here at all. It seems the iOS and Apple TV apps will also continue to function based on Google’s current announcement. One thing that could be hurt as a result of this change, though, is support for 4K and HDR standards, as the YouTube app can be slightly behind compared to the proper Play Movies app, depending on platform.
The Android Auto app received an update this week, inside which we discovered work toward a manual day/night mode toggle for apps like Google Maps. Additionally, we were able to show a sneak peek at the upcoming “Connectivity Troubleshooter” which aims to help you figure out why your phone may be having issues connecting to a particular car stereo head unit.
Notably, Android Auto has a user-controlled toggle for light/dark themes in its Developer Settings menu. As it stands today, that menu allows for locked day or night modes, leaving it to the car’s control, or matching it to the phone. The strings present in 6.3, though, seem separate.
Our Ben Schoon went hands on with the long-awaited OnePlus Watch this week. Above all else, the thing that stood out about the OnePlus Watch was how closely it seems to be a knockoff of Wear OS, and an unpolished one at that.
Unlike Wear OS, though, the software on OnePlus Watch doesn’t feel as modern. Animations don’t exist, and little touches that improve how these functions work on Wear OS are gone as well. For example, notifications lack the ability to reply, to open on your phone, and to show any media previews. In the app drawer, you can’t pin apps to the top. These are minor things, but they make the experience a little better.
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for Made by Google fans who have been anticipating the upcoming launch of the Pixel 5a, with rumors of its cancellation quickly followed by its official confirmation by Google. Our Damien Wilde took time this week to explain what all we know about Google’s upcoming mid-range Android phone.
The Google Assistant got a set of upgrades this week, including the ability for the “find my phone” command to be able to ring a silenced iPhone. On Android, the Assistant’s “Duplex” feature set — which allows the Assistant to do things for you like place calls to make an appointment — can now automatically place an order for food delivery.
However, Assistant will be invoked during the final “check out” process to “automatically navigate the site and fill out your contact and payment details saved in Google Pay and synced to Chrome Autofill.” Like with movie tickets (as seen above), a sheet slides up to walk Android users through the process. Google is first partnering with select chains before expanding to more restaurant partners stateside later this year. This capability further grows Duplex, Google’s umbrella term for efforts that help users accomplish tedious, multi-step tasks.
The rest of this week’s top stories follow:
- Google makes Android Fast Pair redesign official, touts 100+ compatible headphones
- Galaxy Z Fold 3 apparently won’t include a storage silo for its S Pen, like the S21 Ultra
- Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T have pulled the plug on CCMI, their big RCS project
Apps & Updates |
- [Update: Now available] Google Photos for Android gets advanced video editor w/ crop, filters
- Google Home 2.36 will only ring Duo, other calls on Smart Displays when you’re at home
- TomTom AmiGo arrives on Android Auto as further third-party navigation option
- YouTube TV promo cuts the price to $45/month with new customers for a limited time
- Google widely rolls out Play Store navigation and settings redesign on Android
Made by Google |
- Comment: The Pixel 4a is the perfect palate-cleansing smartphone
- Google Pixel Buds A may ditch swiping volume gesture [APK Insight]
- Fitbit ‘Luxe’ fitness tracker leaks w/ slim stainless steel body, revamped software
- Google Store starts showing reviews for Pixel & Nest products, here are all the ratings
- Google’s ADT partnership starts w/ expanded Assistant controls, Nest Mini & Hub installed by ADT
- Google discontinues ‘Oh So Orange’ Pixel Buds, sold out at all retailers
Wear OS |
- Google revamps Wear OS Play Store page w/ featured apps and watchfaces
- Deprecation of legacy Wear OS app install method impacting new watch owners, pairings
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