Browsing: Android

Google is making one of its AI tools for developers, Studio Bot, available to people in over 170 regions around the world, but those in the United Kingdom and European Union are still barred from access.

First unveiled at Google I/O 2023, Studio Bot is a developer-focused AI chatbot integrated directly into Android Studio. Like any other chatbot, you can ask questions and get (usually) helpful answers, including code samples that may solve your problem. You can also get help with specific errors and particular portions of code, but Google notes that Studio Bot only sees what you explicitly choose to share with it. Using Studio Bot does not allow the company to see your private code.

Under the hood, Studio Bot is built on “Codey,” a cutely named large language model (LLM) that is specifically designed to help with writing code, as opposed to how other LLMs are often intended for communicating ideas in languages like English.

At launch, Studio Bot was only made available to those in the United States, but today, it’s becoming accessible in much of the world. You can find the full list of “over 170 countries and territories” on Google’s dedicated site for the project, but the gist of the expansion is that it’s now available in most countries and regions outside of the European Union and the United Kingdom.

Another of Google’s AI chat projects, Bard, was initially excluded from the EU, presumably due to concerns about the union’s privacy laws. However, the company was ultimately able to bring Bard to those countries. That being the case, it’s interesting to see that Europe is still currently excluded from accessing Studio Bot.

To get started with Studio Bot, you’ll need to install Android Studio version “Hedgehog” or newer, which is currently still in Beta testing.


In recent days, Google Pixel and Samsung owners have noticed that Smart Lock’s Trusted devices option has gone missing.

Trusted devices will keep your phone unlocked when it’s connected to a Bluetooth watch or car system. It’s part of Smart Lock on Android 13 and older, while Google has renamed it to Extend Unlock on Android 14 ahead of Watch Unlock.

In recent days, many users are only seeing On-body detection and Trusted places available in Smart Lock/Extend Unlock.

Pixel owners noticed this after Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1, but it’s not related to yesterday’s release and gone from Android 13 and 14 devices we checked today (including a Galaxy Z Fold 4) on version 23.35.15 of Google Play services. However, at least one phone we tested today still has Trusted devices.

This is presumably a bug as “Extend Unlock,” as of the start of this year, is sticking around. Watch Unlock is positioned as an upgrade, but earlier strings suggest you can “add your watch back to Extend Unlock at any time in Settings.” It’s not the first time that one of the Smart Locks options have briefly disappeared.

An update to Google Play services will hopefully address how the Trust devices option is missing. There’s presumably still high usage of this years-old feature for Google to be able to remove it without first offering a complete replacement.

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Google started “Get the Message” last year to pressure Apple into supporting RCS on the iPhone, and the campaign continues today with “iPager.”

Google is mocking how the iPhone doesn’t use RCS and still uses the decades-old SMS/MMS protocol for messaging with Android users by equating it to an “iPager.” The video mimics a product announcement reel with silhouette views and slow pans. “Hello” even appears on the screen of the pager in a nod to the original Macintosh introduction in 1984 and the 2007 iPhone ad about calling

Outdated messaging tech like Apple still uses to text with Android 

The lack of RCS support is responsible for “causing modern texting nightmares,” like zero encryption, broken group chats, pixelated videos, and the “infamous Green Bubble.”


Google says it’s “Time for SMS to exit the chat” and wants people to needle Apple by using  #GetTheMessage on social media. It ends with a link to and the new animated mascot. Funny moments include how the iPager is actually “not for sale” and how the one upside of the fictional gadget is that you’d get a belt clip.

The production value of this 72-second video (set to “Connected” by Stereo MC’s) is pretty good – though it could be shorter – and shareable, which is presumably the hope. Google previously did a physical billboard blitz in New York City after Get The Message launched.

It’s been a year since the campaign got underway, while Apple just released a new operating system update with iOS 17. There’s no support for RCS there. The public approach that Google is taking here continues to be interesting as it otherwise has a good working relationship with Apple in other areas, like Bluetooth tracker detection.

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Android smartphones have enjoyed the ability for years now to use a USB-C cable to charge other devices using the battery on their own phone, something that’s handy in a pinch. And, thanks to the iPhone 15 series finally adopting USB-C, Android phones and iPhones will finally be able to share their power with one another.

Since the adoption of USB-C on Android phones as far back as 2015 or so, virtually all devices have had the ability to use their battery to charge another device, even if that’s another phone. Effectively, it means you’re carrying a battery bank with you at all times, as long as you have the charge to spare. And, while Android phones have been able to share their charge with iPhones since Apple adopted USB-C to Lightning cables a few years ago, it hasn’t been possible in the other direction.

With the adoption of USB-C in the iPhone 15 series, though, this changes, and we already have the proof that Apple’s devices can share power with Android phones.

In a brief YouTube Short, PetaPixel tests sharing power between a Google Pixel Fold and an iPhone 15 over a USB-C cable, and the iPhone immediately begins sharing its power with the Pixel upon plugging in the cable. It’s great to see!


This is also easily possible in the other direction, too.

Android phones feature the ability to control how USB is used when a cable is plugged in, and that includes an option to “charge connected device” when the ability is recognized. We haven’t had a chance to test this on iPhone 15, but there’s no obvious reason why it wouldn’t work.

In case you’re curious, using a USB-C to Lightning cable, even with this toggle in play, does not allow an older iPhone to charge an Android phone.

When might you actually do this? Really, it’s not the kind of feature that’s used super often. While my Android phones have had this ability for several years now, I’ve only used it a couple of times. More often, I end up using the USB-C plug on my phone to charge up accessories on the go, as I’ve done a couple of times with my Pixel Watch while traveling. The ability to grab the USB-C charger and use my phone to top off an accessory is arguably even more handy.

And, with an accessory like Nomad’s ChargeKey, that’s actually pretty handy.

But, regardless of how or when you might use it, this just continues to let iPhone users and Android users feel a bit more unity between their phones, and that’s wonderful.

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As part of the September 2023 Google System Updates, Android is set to gain better support for using a PIN with the FIDO2 security standard, among other improvements.

Update: Ahead of the expected October launch of Android 14, Google is now discussing the addition of stylus and trackpad gestures for Android’s built-in web browser.

While most of the flashier changes for our smartphones often arrive as part of annual Android OS updates or quarterly QPRs or Feature Drops, Google is constantly rolling out improvements and new features through the Play Store. These range from “Play System updates” that affect core OS components to updates for apps like Play Services, the Play Store, and more. The company collectively refers to these as the “Google System.”

Each month, Google publishes (and gradually extends) a list of changes included in that month’s updates. We’ll do our best to keep an eye on these changes and explain the most important ones here. So be sure to check back throughout September.

The easiest way to check whether you need to update Google Play Services on your phone is to follow a direct link to the app’s Play Store listing and update from there, if available. To update the Play Store, tap your avatar in the corner, then “Settings.” Under the “About” section, you’ll see an option to “Update Play Store.” Meanwhile, Google Play system updates can be found through the Settings app, under About phone > Android version > Google Play system update.

In the first wave of updates for September 2023, Google has shared that Android’s support for the FIDO2 security standard is getting updated this month. While FIDO2 (often taking the form of a Titan/Yubikey security key) was originally most commonly used for two-factor authentication alongside a password, the tech industry’s recent push for “passkeys” (passwordless login) has made FIDO2 far more prevalent.

With that increased usage comes a need for increased security, and one such solution is to add a PIN to protect your passkey against theft. In the coming weeks, Android is set to support this “Pin Protocol,” but it’s unclear what precisely this will mean.

One explanation is that Android will natively support entering the necessary PIN for a connected FIDO2 security key. Alternatively, since Android 7+ phones can themselves serve as a FIDO2 key, it’s possible this means you’ll be able to add an extra layer of security by requiring a PIN. We’ll likely learn more once Google Play Services version 23.35 rolls out.

Meanwhile, in the same update, Google Wallet is set to gain some minor improvements, including “new email preference settings.” Google Wallet users in Japan should also soon notice a “better card management” experience.

On the Play Store side of things, Google is introducing “a new settings page” that simplifies “survey choices.”

Update 9/19: While Google has not yet released Android 14 (internally known as “U” or “Upside Down Cake”), the latest patch notes make mention of changes to Android’s built-in web browser – Android System WebView – gaining features that only apply to Android 14 and up.

Specifically, the browser (and presumably Chrome for Android as well) is gaining new gestures for those with a trackpad or stylus. No specific gestures were shared, but we assume these will resemble the gestures available on ChromeOS. For example, a three-finger swipe on a Chromebook lets you quickly change tabs.

For everyone else, Google is also introducing a set of keyboard shortcuts for Android System WebView, presumably matching Chrome’s shortcuts on desktop platforms.

Meanwhile, the Play Store will start surfacing video trailers when searching for certain “media & entertainment apps.” Additionally, when installing a new app, Play Protect will perform “real-time threat detection” to ensure your device remains secure and malware-free.

Android WebView

  • Improvements to security and privacy and updates for bug fixes.
  • New developer features for Google & 3rd party app developers to support functionality related to displaying web content in their apps.
  • [Phone, PC, Tablet, Auto, TV] New keyboard shortcuts for productivity.
  • [Phone, Tablet] New Stylus Rich Gestures support from Android U+ to improve device usability.
  • [Phone, Tablet] Support the standard trackpad gestures on Android U+ for productivity.

Important: Some features may be experimental and available to certain users.

Google Play Store

  • [Phone] A new settings page makes it simpler for you to manage your survey choices and preferences.
  • [Phone] You’ll see video trailers in some search results for media & entertainment apps.
  • [Phone] Google Play Protect install-time protection now performs real-time threat detection for new apps.


  • [Phone] New email preference settings in Wallet.
  • [Phone] This feature enables better card management in Japan.

System Management

  • [Auto, PC, Phone, TV, Wear] Updates to system management services that improve Network Usage and Privacy.
  • [Phone] Changed terms of service for auto updates in setup screen.
  • [Auto] Assistant Controls will now be shown on the Google Terms of Services Screen.

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While our phones have more storage available than ever before, a big library of apps can still lead to eating up a lot of storage on your device. Android recently added an option to automatically “archive” apps that aren’t being used very often, and now that functionality has been made easily available to all users.

Auto-archive on Android first launched via the Play Store back in April 2023, bringing with it the ability to offload Android apps that a user isn’t actively using to free up space for new app installs and updates. It’s a clever feature but one that was originally only available if your phone was running out of storage space.

This functionality would appear to users who had run out, or nearly run out, of storage on their Android phones. The Play Store would then prompt users with the ability to turn on auto-archive, which was the only way to turn on the feature.

Now, as highlighted by AssembleDebug, Google is rolling out the ability to enable auto-archive for Android apps, regardless of how much storage is available. A new toggle showing in the Play Store allows users to preemptively turn on auto-archive so, in theory, they never run into storage as a limitation when installing new apps.

From how Google explains it, auto-archive will still only activate if your device is low on storage, so even if you turn it on with lots of available space, apps won’t be offloaded until you start running out.

To turn on auto-archive, you’ll need to open the Play Store, tap on your profile picture, tap on settings, and then turn on “Automatically archive apps” under the “General section.”

Once your phone starts archiving apps, you’ll see those apps listed under an “archived” filter of your app library in the Play Store.

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The giant list of emoji available on Android and iOS devices isn’t a stagnant database, instead, we often see little updates that bring new icons and revisions. The latest update – Emoji 15.1 – brings 118 new designs.

Made up of a few popular voting members, the Unicode Consortium is responsible for the long list of emoji we see on our devices. Some voting members include Apple, Google, and Microsoft, which are free to take these concepts and fit them into certain design languages for a unified look. That’s why Apple’s emoji list looks distinctly different when compared to Google’s on Android.

Adding to that list of characters and icons, the Unicode Consortium has approved Emoji 15.1, which is an update that adds a total of 118 new icons (via Emojipedia). Those emoji can be broken down into a couple of different groups.

The first group consists of individual concepts, and each is a unique addition to the list. Emoji like a nodding head or shaking head would fall into this category, and both of those happen to be very useful. The second category comprises of family emoji – each icon represents a household in various forms.

The third is the group that consists of the most additions. It represents different human icons with directional movement. For instance, one shows a person walking facing right, while another shows a person running in that same direction. These are set to be counterparts to the existing icons that represent people walking to the left. The reason it consists of 108 different individual icons is that each of the six main forms comes with multiple skin tones and gender variations.

Here’s the full list description of emoji coming to Android and iOS in the new update:

  • Head shaking horizontally
  • Head shaking vertically
  • Phoenix
  • Lime
  • Brown mushroom
  • Broken chain
  • Family – 2 adults 1 child
  • Family – 1 adult, 2 children
  • Family – 1 adult, 1 child
  • Family – 2 adults, 2 children
  • Person walking facing right
  • Person running facing right
  • Person kneeling facing right
  • Person with white cane facing right
  • Person in manual wheelchair facing right
  • Person in powered wheelchair facing right

With the additions of these new emoji entries, it’s likely that most iOS and Android devices will see full integration sometime around the beginning of 2024. Last year, Google was quick to release its designs following the Eomji 15.0 update. Of course, it still takes time to integrate new designs into the platforms available from each company.

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USB-C in smartphones is nothing new, with Android devices having used the port for the better part of a decade now. But, despite all of that time on Android, it’s the iPhone 15’s switch to USB-C that might finally fix the biggest problem with Android accessories, and Android users will be able to enjoy those benefits while some existing iPhone owners take issue with the change.

There are two main ways I see this happening, and it starts with standardization.

By using real standards, Apple can help set the standard

USB-C cables have, for years, been a bit of a mess. While you might buy a premium cable that’s perfectly suited to charging, data transfer, and anything else, a cheap cable bought on Amazon or at a store could vary wildly in quality. For quite a while, buying a USB-C cable was a mess until some folks, like Google’s Benson Legun, stepped in to help push the industry in the right direction.

Apple’s switch to USB-C won’t suddenly solve this. But with an entire generation of iPhones adopting the standard, it’s sure to help push things in the right direction again.

While there are plenty of bad Lightning cables out there, a decade of that standard has led many folks to know what to look for in terms of brands. And, lo and behold, many of those brands such as Anker and others also make USB-C cables.

Now that’s not to say having Apple as the “standard” is perfect. Apple restricts iPhones to charging at just 20W over USB-C, far below the standard’s theoretical limits and the speeds that many existing Android phones are capable of using. For instance, most Samsung flagships are rated for 45W charging, more than twice Apple’s top speed. But still, I feel this is going to be a net positive.

USB-C will truly, finally be everywhere

The big benefit that we, as Android users, will see from Apple’s switch to USB-C is the one that inspired this change.

USB-C will be everywhere as the one cable to rule them all.

If you’re in an Uber/Lyft, or out with friends, or even out in public, everyone will use the same cable. This won’t happen overnight, of course, but in the long run, folks won’t see the confusion that “Big E” so perfectly encapsulates about “a phone cable.”


I really can’t stress how great this is going to be in the long run for everyone. There are just so many examples where having a single cable type for everything will be a benefit to everyone, but I think Michael Fisher really nailed the sentiment in a tweet earlier this week.

Some existing iPhone owners are already complaining about the change

Apple introduced the Lightning port back in 2012, just over a decade ago, and used that cable through every single iPhone sold up until the iPhone 15 series. iPads slowly made the switch over the past several years, but it took EU legislation to finally get Apple to change over the iPhone – despite how it was announced, it was not Apple’s choice, and they fought it.

The thing is that, objectively, the Lighting connector is good. The super thin design is simple and actually more durable than USB-C. If Apple had opened the Lightning connector to the whole industry, I don’t think anyone would have complained about it. But, that’s not what happened; instead, the connector was limited solely to Apple devices, and with “Made for iPhone” fees for accessory makers.

It’s because of that choice that USB-C has become the industry standard, and the reason that the EU has made it a requirement. And that’s a good thing. As we’ve discussed in this post, having USB-C everywhere will make everyone’s lives a lot more convenient, and having a player as big as the iPhone in the game means that everyone benefits.

Yet, existing iPhone owners are complaining about it.

A great example of this comes from our own Max Weinbach, who, on Twitter/X, relayed a story of someone who bought an iPhone 14 Pro just to avoid the switch to USB-C.

And, really, she’s not alone. A lot of current iPhone owners are going to be annoyed that Apple is switching their port and pushing them to buy new cables – or adapters, in the case of the insane people out there. It doesn’t take much searching to find lots of examples of iPhone owners and fans who are annoyed at the change.

But those shortsighted complaints won’t change Apple’s mind, and that’s great news for Android owners.

That’s especially true because there are short-term benefits for Android users.

Brands like Nomad and Satechi which primarily make iPhone accessories will, suddenly, also be making Android accessories. And this isn’t just a result of the switch to USB-C, it’s also thanks to the arrival of Qi2, which makes Apple’s MagSafe an industry standard that will eventually start showing up in Android phones.

Personally, I’m excited for this brave new world we’re entering, both as someone who loves and uses Android phones every single day, and as someone who just bought their first new iPhone in several years in part because Apple finally adopted the port that’s all over my home – stay tuned for more on that in the weeks to come.

What do you think? Let’s discuss further in the comments below!