Google is set to release its next major version of Android — Android 12 — later this year, following a series of Developer Previews and Betas that will likely start rolling out later this month. Ahead of the stable release, Google shares documentation and source code with its major partners in order to give them time to prepare for the release. Today, an alleged early draft of a document that Google made to summarize changes in Android 12 leaked online, and screenshots showcasing the new UI and functional changes were extracted from the document. While we can’t fully confirm the authenticity of these screenshots, we have seen evidence that the document in question is, in fact, real, and furthermore that these screenshots indeed came from said document. With that in mind, here’s what we’re seeing right now.
One of the alleged Android 12 screenshots showcases a new notifications panel UI. The transparency is gone and replaced with an opaque light beige background, though the color likely depends on the current theme and/or whether or not Dark Mode is enabled. The separation between the “conversations” section with the rest of the notifications is still there, and the rounded corners of each notification are now more pronounced. The number of Quick Settings tiles that are shown when the notification panel is partially expanded has been reduced from 6 to 4, causing each icon to become larger. The positions of the date and clock have been swapped, while there are also new privacy indicators in the top right-hand corner.
Speaking of which, it seems that Google may add new privacy features in Android 12. In the new Android version, you may receive a warning in the form of status bar indicators whenever an app is using the camera or microphone. Tapping on these status bar icons may show a pop-up at the top of the screen that tells you exactly which app(s) are using the camera or microphone. Google has been testing these privacy chips for over 2 years now, so it would be nice to see them finally make an appearance in Android 12.
Related to this change is an alleged revamp to the “Privacy” settings in Android 12. The new Privacy settings may contain toggles to disable the camera and mute the microphone entirely, in addition to toggling location access. You can already disable all sensors on your device by using the “sensors off” Quick Setting tile, but this tile can only be shown once you enable Developer Options. Android 12 may make these sensor toggles more user-accessible by placing them in the Privacy settings.
Lastly, we have what appears to be a new addition to Android’s widget selection. When Apple recently added widgets to iOS, we argued that they’re better than Android’s implementation in some ways. While we don’t know if Google is planning a major overhaul of widgets, it does look like they at least plan to make a few changes. In a few screenshots, we can see an alleged new “Conversations” widget in Android 12 that may highlight recent messages, missed calls, or activity statuses. The widget that’s shown is small and only seems to be big enough to accommodate showing one message/call/status at a time in its smallest size.
One of the documents we viewed shortly after the publication of this article reveals that Google plans to make “conversation widgets” a mandatory feature for all Android 12 devices. These widgets provide access to “People Shortcuts” which contain an avatar, name, notification content, and status information, all set in the PeopleManager class.
According to a screenshot of the document we viewed, Google is also planning to mandate the inclusion of camera and microphone indicators in Android 12. These indicators must be shown prominently at the top of the screen, always be visible whenever the camera or microphone is being accessed, and must have the same color across the ecosystem. We don’t know what other changes will be mandated until we get our hands on the full Compatibility Definition Document (CDD) for Android 12.
Again, since we haven’t received the full document in question, we can’t 100% verify the authenticity of these images. However, the screenshot we received of the document comes from a trusted source who has, in recent times, shared other confidential documents with us. If we receive more evidence corroborating these alleged screenshots of Android 12, we’ll follow-up in a separate post. We also asked Google to comment on this leak and will update this article if we hear back.
If you’re interested in learning more about what’s in store in the next major Android release, check out XDA Android 12 tag. We expect there’ll be a better theming system, decoupled emojis, an app hibernation feature, and many more features that have yet to be uncovered. When Google unveils its first Developer Preview in the next few weeks, don’t expect to see all of these changes show up. That’s because the builds that Google releases prior to its I/O developer conference tend to miss out on a lot of the more interesting user-facing features.
Thanks to XDA Senior Member RKBD for bringing these images to our attention, and thanks to their tipster (who wishes to remain anonymous) for their help in corroborating these images!
You can now share your car key in Apple Wallet with Android users,
starting with Google Pixel
If you happen to be an owner of one of the very few cars on the market with Car Key support, you are now able to share that car key credential with non-iPhone users for the first time.
Apple is working with the IETF and industry members to standardize cross-platform car key sharing. The first implementation of this support has landed today for Google Pixel owners. Google is working on rolling out support for all Android 12+ devices soon.
The Car Key feature allows Apple Wallet to treat unlocking your car in the same manner as you can conduct contactless payments with Apple Pay: Walk up to your car and then present your iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock it.
You can share car keys by using the Share button inside the Wallet app. You could previously send the key to other iPhone users. On iOS 16.1 or later, the Wallet app generates keys that also work with other supporting platforms, most notably Android users.
Share using the system share sheet with your favorite app like Messages, Mail, and WhatsApp. You can secure the process using an optional one-time code.
At any later time, you can revoke access to a shared car key. Simply open the Wallet app, select your car key and tap on the People icon to manage the current list of shared keys for that vehicle.
Apple’s partnership with the IETF was first announced at this year’s WWDC. The group is still working on a final specification to make publicly available for adoption by anyone. But for now, only Apple and Google have access to the necessary protocols and are working on the respective implementations privately.
It’s a really cool technology that furthers Apple’s goal to replace the wallet in your pocket, alongside other initiatives like Digital ID and Apple Pay. Hopefully, more Car Key compatible vehicles will be available soon.
Apple releases iOS 16.2 beta 4 to developers ahead of expected launch this month
Following the release of iOS 16.1.2 to iPhone users on Wednesday, Apple released iOS 16.2 beta 4 to developers on Thursday. Along with iOS 16.2, Apple has also been testing new betas for watchOS 9.2, tvOS 16.2, and macOS Ventura 13.1. Read on as we detail what’s new in these updates.
iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 include some notable changes. The Freeform collaboration app is now available to iPad, iPhone, and Mac users. There are also changes to the Home app, updates to the Weather app, and more.
On November 28, Apple also released a “Rapid Security Response” update for users running iOS 16.2 beta. Once the feature becomes available to everyone, Apple will be able to quickly fix security exploits without having to release a new version of iOS just for this.
In addition to iOS 16.2 beta 4, Apple has also made the following updates available to all developer beta testers:
With Android 13 on the horizon, OnePlus is now finally offering OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7T series owners the opportunity to install Android 12 with the launch of the OxygenOS 12 Open Beta.
Announced in twoseparate posts on the OnePlus Forums, OxygenOS 12 Open Beta 1 can now be sideloaded on OnePlus 7/ OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7T/ OnePlus 7T Pro units. The divisive update certainly bears a striking resemblance to Oppo’s ColorOS, that is despite protestations from OnePlus that the “unified platform” will not be coming after all.
Aesthetically, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between OxygenOS 12 on OnePlus 7 series devices and ColorOS or Realme UI on Oppo and Realme devices. However, a new software update is important and Android 12 offers a number of improvements to the core OS that will undoubtedly improve the daily experience you’ll have with a OnePlus 7 or OnePlus 7T series handset.
One caveat is that to install OxygenOS 12 Open Beta 1 on your OnePlus 7, OnePlus 7 Pro, OnePlus 7T, or OnePlus 7T Pro you will need to already be running OxygenOS 11.0.71 or 22.214.171.124 before proceeding. These builds contain prerequisites that are not contained within the OxygenOS 12 Open Beta ZIP files that are required for Android 12 to run correctly.
Both builds for the 7 and 7T series contain the June 2022 security patch, which means you’re up-to-date — at least for now. You can check out the full changelog below:
Newly added Smart Battery Engine, a feature that prolongs your battery life based on smart algorithms and biomimetic self-restoration technology
Redesigns app icons using new materials to give more depth and a greater sense of space and texture to the icons
Revamps the page layout based on the principle of reducing visual noise and optimizes the presentation of text and color to make key information stand out
Optimized desktop icons with improved textures, by using a design inspired by brand-new materials and uniting lights and layers
Optimized spam block rules: Adds a rule for blocking MMS messages
Newly added the HyperBoost end-to-end frame rate stabilizer
Newly added Voice effect preview to allow you to record your voice effect or check your voice effect in real time
Dark mode now supports three adjustable levels, bringing a more personalized and comfortable user experience
New additional style options for Cards, making data contents more visual and easier to read
Newly added access to OnePlus Scout in Shelf, allowing you to search multiple contents on your phone, including Apps, Settings, Media Data, etc
Work Life Balance
Work Life Balance feature is now available to all users, allowing you to effortlessly switch between Work and Life mode via quick settings
WLB 2.0 now supports automatic Work/Life mode switching, based on specific locations, Wi-Fi network, and time, also bringing customized App notification profiles according to the personalization
Gallery now allows you to switch between different layouts with a two-finger pinch gesture, intelligently recognizing the best-quality pictures, and cropping the thumbnail based on the content, making the gallery layout more pleasing
Canvas AOD brings you new diverse styles of lines and colors, for a more personalized lock screen experience with inspiring visuals
Newly added multiple brushes and strokes and support for color adjustment
Optimized software algorithm and improved face recognition to better identify the features and skin color of different figures
Optimized categorization of functions by grouping them into vision, hearing, interactive actions, and general
TalkBack supports more system apps including Photos, Phone, Mail, and Calendar
Of course, before attempting to install, ensure you have at least 30% battery remaining and 4GB of onboard storage free. This process should not wipe any personal data on your device, but we would highly recommend backing up any important files and photos before joining the beta program. Downgrading or rolling back to Android 11 will cause you to lose device data if you are not happy with OxygenOS 12 and Android 12 on your OnePlus 7 or OnePlus 7T series handset.
Google is ever on the quest to improve the general perception of security and privacy on its mobile operating system. The latest effort is called “Protected by Android” and that branding looks set for a broader rollout.
The Android YouTube channel today uploaded a 50-second video about how the OS “is all about keeping you and your information safe so you can focus on what matters most.” Still images of people using smartphones – presumably Android-powered ones, but we’re pretty sure there’s one of an iPhone 8 Plus at 0:05 – with short captions are used throughout:
From detecting and defeating bad apps to helping you control your personal information, you’re always protected by Android.
A slick animation sees the green Android head morphs into a checkmarked shield: “Whatever you’re up to, you’ve got peace of mind when you’re protected by Android.” Highlighted platform and ecosystem features include:
Verified by Play Protect: “You’re safe from malware and harmful apps”
Monthly security updates: “Defended by non-stop security”
Location access permissions: “And in control of your personal information”
Besides this ad, Google at I/O 2022 showed off Android 13’s upcoming unified “Security & privacy” settings page. Underneath the prominent “Scan device” button there’s the same “Protected by Android” branding and shield.
The page will be anchored by new action cards that notify you of critical steps you should take to address any safety risks. In addition to notifications to warn you about issues, we’ll also provide timely recommendations on how to enhance your privacy.
When it came to note-taking apps on mobile, Evernote was one of the earlier entrants. They helped popularize the idea behind the ability to sync your notes and also collaborate with other people on the same note in real-time, but this does not necessarily mean that the app is for everyone.
Some of you might have different needs and maybe you’re seeking an alternative to Evernote. If you are, you’ve come to the right place because here are some worthy Evernote alternatives that you can check out for Android and iOS.
Notion might not necessarily be an app that you have heard of, but it doesn’t detract from the app’s value and potential. In addition to being a decent note-taking app, Notion pulls double and triple duty by being an app that can help manage your workflow through Kanban-styled boards, timeline views, and more.
OneNote is an app developed by Microsoft that’s designed to be a note-taking app. It is a pretty straightforward app and comes with some features that Evernote users might actually be familiar with, but that’s a good thing. It can also sync over Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud service, so if you have an account, it can back it up to the cloud quickly and easily and you’ll be able to access it from other devices like a computer.
If you don’t need a full-fledged word processor like Google Docs and want something small and simple to jot down your notes, it would be remiss of us if we did not include Google Keep on this list. Given that this is a Google product, it quite easily integrates across Google’s other services, so if you’re tied into the Google ecosystem, this is a no-brainer.
Dropbox made a name for themselves as being a cloud storage service, but the company has been slowly expanding on its offerings and Paper is one of them. If you’re someone who uses Dropbox quite a bit, then using Paper would make a lot of sense as not only does it allow users to take down notes, but they can also sync it and collaborate with other users.
Simplenote, as the name implies, is a very simple and straightforward note-taking application. If you’re just looking for something that takes down notes well and can sync across a multitude of platforms (it’s also available on Linux), then Simplenote is a great alternative to Evernote.
These days as we work from home, being able to collaborate digitally and virtually is slowly becoming a necessity, and Notejoy excels in that regard. Users can quickly make changes to their notes and documents that can then be synced with other users in the team. There is also the ability to include reactions, threaded discussions, note views, and more.
If you’re looking to take your note-taking and productivity to the next level, there’s a good chance that you might have heard of the Todoist app. This is not only a note-taking app, but a planner, project manager, and reminder app all in one. You can use it to track your goals for your current projects, collaborate with other users, and it also integrates with other apps and services like Gmail, Slack, and more.
Wondering how to stop Spotify from playing music videos automatically? You’re probably not alone. Fortunately it’s easy to turn the visual loop and music video feature off with Spotify on iPhone, iPad, and Android.
The latest versions of Spotify on iPhone, iPad, and Android default to automatically playing short clips of music videos with many songs. Those music video clips play in a constant loop while the song is playing too. But if you don’t want Spotify to automatically play music videos of many songs, you can turn this feature off. Here’s how to do it.
How to Stop Spotify Playing Music Video Loops on Songs
Open the Spotify app on iPhone, iPad, or Android if you have not done so already
Go to “Your Library”
Choose the Gear icon to access Settings in the corner
Choose “Playback” from Settings
Scroll down and locate the “Canvas” setting, turn that to the OFF position to disable playing the music video loops on songs
With this setting turned off, the Spotify app will show just the album art of any playing song or music, rather than a clip of a music video or other looping visual.
Now you can enjoy listening to your music on Spotify without any videos playing to the music. This may desirable for many reasons, whether you find the videos to be annoying or distracting, or if you mostly use Spotify to stream from iPhone to Sonos or some other speaker and never seen the screen anyway, or just out of personal preference.
This will turn off Spotify video playing on all songs whether it’s a full album, a single downloaded song from Spotify, or anything streamed.
You can also turn off the “Behind the Lyrics” feature of Spotify if interested while you’re in the Spotify Settings.
Of course you can re-enable the auto playing music videos and music visuals in Spotify if you want to at any time. Just go back to Spotify Settings > Playback > and turn the Canvas feature back on again.
Update, May 19, 2019 (11:50 pm ET): Google has released a new statement regarding the Huawei situation, this time via the Android Twitter account. As seen below, the company states that current Huawei (and likely Honor) phones will continue having access to services like Google Play and security from Google Play Protect.
Google plans to comply with the U.S. government’s order to place Huawei on its Entity List. It’s still unclear what effect this decision will have on the future of Huawei.
Original post, May 19, 2019 (3:14 pm ET): Google has suspended business operations with Huawei effectively immediately, a forced move that will have a dramatic impact on Huawei devices across the globe.
According to Reuters, citing a source close to the matter, Google was forced into suspending business with Huawei that “requires the transfer of hardware and software products.”
“Huawei Technologies Co Ltd will immediately lose access to updates to the Android operating system, and the next version of its smartphones outside of China will also lose access to popular applications and services including the Google Play Store and Gmail app,” Reuters noted.
This effectively means no further Android security updates for devices new and old, including the recent P30 and P30 Pro, Mate 20 Pro, and many more.
Google’s actions come after the U.S. Commerce Department’s announcement on Wednesday, which placed Huawei and some 68 affiliates on a so-called Entity List, a trade blacklist, following an executive order signed by U.S. President Trump.
This is the same list that ZTE was added to and subsequently removed from, over the course of 2018, which caused it massive disruption. Huawei is now effectively forbidden from buying parts and components from U.S. companies without U.S. government approval – which includes Android.
This is, of course, a massive blow if the story is accurate. One of Huawei’s arms, its HiSilicon chip division, had stated it has “long been ready” for any ban, while Huawei has previously mentioned it has been preparing for six years or more for any ban of Android. Honor, a sub-brand of Huawei, had been set to launch the Honor 20 on Tuesday May 21, in London — it’s unclear what will now happen.
The Chinese giant said in a statement earlier this week that it was “against the decision made by the Bureau of Industry and Security of the U.S. Department of Commerce.”
President Trump issued an executive order last week banning “foreign adversaries” from doing telecommunication business in the US. The move was widely understood as a ban on Huawei products, and now we’re starting to see the fallout. According to a report from Reuters, Google has “suspended” business with Huawei, and the company will be locked out of Google’s Android ecosystem. It’s the ZTE ban all over again.
Reuters details the fallout from Trump’s order, saying “Huawei Technologies Co Ltd will immediately lose access to updates to the Android operating system, and the next version of its smartphones outside of China will also lose access to popular applications and services including the Google Play Store and Gmail app.”
Huawei’s loss of access “to updates” is most likely a reference to Android Q, which hardware manufacturers get early access to. Since Android is open source, Huawei could resume development once the source code comes out. The real killer is the loss of the Google Play Store and Google Play Services, which unlocks access to the billions of Android apps and popular Google apps like Gmail and Maps. Reuters claims this will only happen to “the next version” of Huawei’s smartphones, presumably meaning existing devices with the Play Store will continue to work.
Huawei doesn’t do much smartphone business in the US, so banning Huawei from selling phones to US consumers won’t change much. Huawei has made a few attempts to break into the US market, but pressure from Congress on Huawei’s individual business partners, like AT&T and Verizon, have caused them to walk away from deals with the company. Besides smartphones, Huawei is also one of the biggest suppliers of network and telecom equipment in the world, and this ban will keep the company’s routers, towers, and other equipment out of US networks. An earlier Reuters report detailed the problem the ban would cause in rural states like Wyoming and Oregon, which have adopted Huawei equipment.
The real change here is the banning of US companies from supplying Huawei with software and hardware. Outside of China, this move is a death sentence for Huawei smartphones in places like Europe and India. There isn’t a single viable alternative to Google’s Android ecosystem, so Google-less Huawei smartphones would have a tough time in the market. The only company that has sort of made Google-less Android work is Amazon, which sells forked Android tablets that are so cheap and disposable they come in a six-pack. Amazon is also a US company, though, so the Amazon App Store presumably wouldn’t be available to Huawei, either.
Huawei’s explosive growth will probably be coming to an end, if the ban sticks.
In Huawei’s home nation of China, not much will change. Google doesn’t do much business in China, so the Play Store and Google Play Services do not exist there. The app store landscape is pretty fragmented as a result, with most OEMs running their own app store or licensing a third-party app store from other Chinese companies like Tencent or 360 Mobile.
When ZTE faced a similar ban from doing business in the US last year, the company was forced to shut down worldwide operations. According to Reuters, 25 percent of ZTE’s smartphone components come from the US, and the one-two punch of being banned from Google’s Android app ecosystem and from buying Qualcomm’s smartphone chips were too much for the company. Huawei is a lot bigger than ZTE, though, and more independent. Qualcomm has a near-monopoly on high-end Android SoCs and cellular connectivity technology, but Huawei is one of two Android manufacturers (the other is Samsung) with its own chip design division. Huawei flagships all have SoCs from Huawei’s “HiSilicon” chip division, and the company even makes its own 5G modems.If the ban really does stick, a possible future path for Huawei is to ship forked, Google-less versions of Android with the Huawei App Store, extending its Chinese app ecosystem to the rest of the world. Huawei has also done some development work on an in-house operating system, but it’s unclear if this would be a better option than forking Android. Huawei is the number two smartphone vendor in the world, behind Samsung and ahead of Apple, and saw its device shipments grow by an explosive 50% year over year. Whatever decision it makes is a big deal for Google and the rest of the Android ecosystem.
Android (Go edition) devices have, so far, been kind of a mixed bag. Sure, Android Go optimizes several parts of the OS to run better on lower-end devices, but certain devices have a specification sheet so weak that even Android Go is not enough to make them run optimally. The Nokia 1 with a MediaTek MT6737M processor and a subpar 480p display is a great example of this. At their price points, they’re not bad phones. They’ll still do the job for most people and Android Go goes a long way in smoothing things out. But you certainly deserve better, even if you’re on a budget. Enter the Xiaomi Redmi Go.
Xiaomi recently took a big step with their Redmi sub-brand, introducing themselves head-first into the Android Go market. The result? The Xiaomi Redmi Go, Xiaomi’s cheapest device to date, retailing at a measly Rs. 4,499 (~$65)—but don’t let that price tag fool you. After playing with other Android Go devices like the Samsung Galaxy J2 Core and the Nokia 1, I can confidently say that this is one of the best Android Go phones available in the market, if not the best one out there. Here are my first impressions of the Xiaomi Redmi Go.
microUSB (USB 2.0), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (Bluetooth 4.1), GPS, OTG, 3.5mm headphone jack
In the box
Xiaomi Redmi Go smartphone, Documentation, microUSB Cable, Power Adapter, SIM Ejector
Available now for ₹4,990/$65.
The Xiaomi Redmi Go is not really made to stand out. In fact, it is fairly bland in its design. It is a slim, compact device which is made entirely of plastic, including the back, frame, and buttons. Not that this is a bad thing, to be honest. Again, we’re talking about a $65 phone, and sturdier or more premium finishes like glass and metal are off the table since the whole point of this phone is to be affordable. Also, despite its plastic build and price point, it actually feels fairly sturdy and well-built. The back is not removable unlike many other Android Go devices. This may help with its sturdiness, but also means that the battery isn’t removable. If this is something you’re looking forward to, then don’t hold your breath.
The back of the phone houses a small, single 8MP back shooter, an LED flash, and a very faint Xiaomi logo. I got the blue version of the phone, and while there’s no gradient back glasses or anything fancy here, it is actually a very cute little phone. Thanks to its 5-inch display and its light and slim body, it is easily pocketable. I still love my OnePlus 5T‘s 6-inch display, but I think more devices (flagships included) should come in this smaller form factor.
Down at the bottom, we have the micro-USB charging port and a bottom-firing speaker, while the top houses the 3.5mm headphone jack and a microphone. The right side includes the power button and volume rockers, and the left side is reserved for both a nano-SIM card tray as well as an SD card tray—two rare sights in an all-plastic smartphone. There is no fingerprint scanner of any kind in this phone or any other kind of biometric unlocking features for that matter (Smart Lock does not have support for face unlocking here), but then again, expecting one at this price point is probably a stretch.
This phone’s display was actually one of its nicest surprises. It is a 5″ HD (720p) IPS LCD panel at a 16:9 aspect ratio. There’s a bottom bezel housing the capacitive navigation buttons. Nothing to blow you off your seat, sure, but other Android Go devices in the same price bracket (and even some more expensive ones) have included qHD (540p) and even SD (480p) panels, so an HD panel is a nice change of pace. There are no thin bezels, notches, or any other shenanigans here: It’s just a standard 16:9 form factor with decently-sized bezels. This, combined with its slim, compact body, makes it easy to use one-handed.
This same panel is protected by Gorilla Glass 3, so it should be able to withstand light scratches and general use just fine. The display panel’s brightness could be better, but overall, I had no problem using the phone in broad daylight, even with the tempered glass screen protector that was installed. (Note that this phone does not come with a screen protector of any kind—this one was pre-applied by the store I purchased it in). Nighttime usage is as good as you’d expect from an LCD panel: there’s a backlight, so blacks emit light, unlike AMOLED displays. The phone’s software does come with Night Light to help eye strain with nighttime usage.
This is something that I’ve mentioned countless times in this article already, but I feel that it’s worth another mention: This is a $65 phone. Most people will not buy such a phone expecting superb camera performance, and thus, I didn’t come in expecting a lot from it. But it’s camera experience is noteworthy enough to deserve a section here, especially given how I like to photograph almost everything that surrounds me. During my testing, I’ve found that the Redmi Go actually provides a passable camera experience in specific circumstances. This smartphone features a single, rear-facing 8MP shooter with an f/2.0 aperture, 1.12μm pixel size, and autofocus. It’s also capable of shooting 1080p video at 30 fps.
I didn’t go deep into the camera, but the Redmi Go’s camera takes decently exposed pictures in most outdoor circumstances, with some images exposing a slight degree of over-saturation, but not worrying enough to be a problem.
Xiaomi Redmi Go camera samples.
Indoor pictures, though, are another story. Image quality takes a huge hit indoor, especially in dimly lit rooms and nighttime lighting. Even with heavy noise reduction and AI adjustments, images still come out extremely grainy. As a result of this aggressive noise reduction, details, even at closer distances, are lost. It’s a small 8MP sensor in a cheap phone, so I won’t hang Xiaomi out to dry over this.
Low-light picture taken with the Xiaomi Redmi Go. Note the heavy amounts of noise and loss of detail.
It also struggles a bit with locking focus, but it does have a manual mode allowing you to manually adjust the focus, ISO, and shutter speed, an actually surprising feature for a phone in this range. The autofocus thing can be improved with software updates, too. The camera app doesn’t really come with a lot of features, either: there’s a 1:1 square picture mode, the aforementioned manual mode, a couple of features like a “scene” mode that automatically adjusts the camera based on light conditions, and a “straighten” mode that adjusts the picture based on the phone’s orientation.
Moving to the front, we have a fairly standard setup: a single 5MP sensor with an f/2.2 aperture and 1.12μm pixel size. Selfies tell the exact same story: outdoor images are fine, but indoor ones are a mixed bag. The camera should, however, be just okay at meeting your selfie needs.
The Redmi Go’s camera won’t exactly turn heads, but it’s not meant to do that. It’s just okay. It will be able to capture precious moments, which is all it’s meant to do. If you’re actually looking for this smartphone to compete with the big players of mobile photography, your expectations are way too high for this device.
User Experience and Device Performance
Possibly the most unusual bit about this phone is its software and the overall experience it delivers. After all, this is the first Xiaomi Redmi device the company is shipping with near-stock Android instead of MIUI. The Xiaomi Mi A1, Mi A2, and Mi A2 Lite are all part of the Android One program while the Redmi Go runs Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition). The phone thus comes with near-stock Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, but being an Android Go device, it also comes with the usual apps you’d expect to find on Android (Go edition). The regular Google apps are replaced with their Go equivalents and the bloat is kept to a minimum, with the only pre-installed non-Google/AOSP apps being Mint Browser, Mint Launcher, the MIUI Cleaner app, the MIUI file explorer, Mi Drop, and Facebook Lite.
Stock Android is not mandatory for Android Go as we’ve seen on Samsung devices like the Galaxy J2 Core, so we give props to Xiaomi here for caring more about usability and performance than packing their MIUI software experience. An Android Pie update is, while possible, highly unlikely given Xiaomi’s track record with their lower-end phones. Plus, there are reports that Android Pie (Go Edition) has problems, causing its adoption to be delayed.
Given its low-end specifications, the phone actually feels pretty snappy and responsive, much more so than other Android Go devices I’ve tried out in the past. I haven’t run into any major hitches with it yet. I would imagine the 1GB RAM/8GB storage combo will get very limiting, very quickly. (In fact, I’d say a microSD card is a must-have here.) However, I haven’t used the phone extensively, but Android Go should help out greatly in this regard.
Xiaomi’s first big foray into the Android Go device ecosystem turned out to be a pretty successful one. There is no denying the fact that this is an entry-level device and there’s nothing to lure you in if you’re currently using a flagship or mid-range device. In fact, it’ll be a severe regression. After all, this is meant to be someone’s first smartphone or someone’s secondary, burner phone. It’ll probably be a phone for an older person or a child. But the Xiaomi Redmi Go offers decent performance and user experience for those who just want to run a few apps, make phone calls, check emails, browse the web, etc.
The Redmi Go does have a host of issues, but under $100, you’d be very, very hard pressed finding something better than it. In fact, with its combination of entry-level specifications and stock Android software and its $65 price tag, I think this is the best Android Go phone available in the market right now. Low-end Android smartphones have always had a bad reputation of being laggy and unusable bricks, but the Xiaomi Redmi Go strays far from that description, offering acceptable performance and a lot of bang for the buck. And again, this thing is only $65.
The Xiaomi Redmi Go is currently available globally in both Black and Blue.
You can now develop Android O ROMs for selected unlocked Xperia devices via Sony’s Open Devices program. The recently released build guide gives developers the necessary tools and instructions to begin their development and the new software binaries adds support for Xperia XZ Premium, Xperia XZs, Xperia XZ, Xperia X Performance, Xperia X and Xperia X Compact. This means you can now build and flash your own version of Android O on all devices mentioned above.
Get started using the build guide for instructions on how to build AOSP for your device. Before you begin, you will need to download the necessary software binaries. You can find the corresponding binaries for each compatible device below:
As you may know, the Open Devices program is our way to provide access and tools to build and test your custom software on a range of Sony devices. You can access all the resources you need through our Open Devicespage on Developer World. We value our open source community and welcome you to participate in our projects via GitHub. Feel free to provide feedback on further resources you may need and where we can improve.
Check out the Xperia device list to find out if your device is a part of our Open Device program
Contribute to and find out more about our current open source GitHub projects
Read all blog posts covering Open Devices
Compared to other Android smartphone makers right now, Sony puts a lot of effort into the open source part of Android. The company contributes a lot of code to AOSP and they’ve been known to be quite friendly to developers as well. It was just last month when the company released build instructions on how to get Android 8.0 complied and running on the supported Xperia devices. Today, the company has officially announced that AOSP Android 8.0 Oreo is now available on Sony’s Open Devices program.
For those who are unaware, Sony’s Open Devices program is something they set up a while ago for developers who are eager to experiment with Android on their supported devices. For those supported Xperia devices, Sony provides AOSP device configurations directly on GitHub for anyone who is interested, as well as the required binaries. This works both ways as it gives new developers access to the code that works on those devices while also providing experienced developers a way to contribute to the project.
Sony has been very supportive of the new Android 8.0 Oreo update and as mentioned, released build instructions for those who want to compile AOSP Android 8.0 for a supported device. As of right now, the list of supported devices from Sony includes the Xperia XZ Premium, Xperia XZs, Xperia XZ, Xperia X Performance, Xperia X, and the Xperia X Compact. Along with this build guide, having AOSP Android 8.0 included in the Open Devices program adds support for their convenient tools, projects, and more.
The company has also already announced which Xperia devices will be receiving the company’s official OTA update. Naturally, this includes all of the additional features that the company adds onto their devices which are not found in the AOSP builds. You can learn more about which devices will be receiving their official Oreo update here.
Android Oreo while a small update it terms of visual changes brought some interesting new features. The new Autofill API paved the way to improve the way in which apps like LastPass interact with the OS, as well as things like Project Treble.
Another new feature enabled by Android Oreo is the Always on Ambient Display mode that seems to be reserved for the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 as it is currently disabled.
Despite the next generation Pixel devices only a month away, the always on display feature seems to be fully functional in Android Oreo and just needs activating. This means you don’t have to wait for the new Pixel 2 devices and can get started with any device that supports Android Oreo AOSP.
The new ambient display setting works pretty similarly to all of those other “always on display” modes from Samsung or LG that have included it with its devices for a few generations. When you receive a notification, it’ll display on the AOD for a few seconds before facing away leaving just the icon below the clock.
The method to enable this in Android Oreo AOSP is pretty simple and comes courtesy of XDA that found the “alwaysOnAvailable” code that is tagged as “false” can be reversed by simply changing the method to “true”.
Check out XDA Developer Mishaal Rahman’s post to try it out and see for yourself.