About the Author

Abner Li

@technacity

“It’s Google’s Alphabet’s world & we’re all just living in it.”

The above is truly Abner’s philosophy and why in his 4 years of writing about tech Google and Android has mostly been the main subject.

He resides in Los Angeles.

Send tips to abner@9to5mac.com.

Email or Twitter @technacity if you want to discuss anything remotely Android or Google related with him.

February 12

Essential shutting down after failing to launch radical ‘GEM’ smartphone

Essential Products announced today that it’s ceasing operations and shutting down. Founded by the controversial Andy Rubin, the start-up last August showed off a radical ‘GEM’ smartphone.

January 24

‘Byte’ brings back Vine’s 6-second looping videos, launches on Android and iOS

Back in 2017, Twitter killed 6-second looping video service Vine. Two years later, co-founder Dom Hofmann teased a return, and last April introduced a closed beta. Byte today is officially launching for Android and iOS.

January 14

You can now use iPhones as Google security keys for 2FA

Last year, Google announced that all Android 7+ devices can be used as two-factor authentication when signing into Gmail, Drive, and other first-party services. Most modern iPhones can now be used as a built-in phone security key for Google apps.

January 6

New Withings ScanWatch is a hybrid wearable with crown dial, ECG, and sleep apnea detection

With Google’s acquisition of Fitbit — set to be completed this year, there will be one less independent player in the health space. Withings is kicking off 2020 with the ScanWatch. The French company is touting this hybrid smartwatch as being its “most medically advanced wearable.”

October 28, 2019

Google parent Alphabet has reportedly made an offer to acquire Fitbit

Last month, reports first emerged that Fitbit was considering a sale and Google’s parent company was tentatively floated as a possible candidate. Reuters this morning is reporting that Alphabet has made an offer to acquire the wearable company.

September 24, 2019

Google says its update software is crashing some Macs, here’s how to fix

Earlier today, Mac video professionals began reporting that their computers were crashing, and many attributed the problem to Avid’s Media Composer editor. The issue instead lies with a piece of Google software that helps keep Chrome up-to-date.

[Update: Now available] Gmail dark theme for Android and iOS officially rolling out

Gmail for Android’s dark theme began rolling out at the start of this month. Google today is now making the look official and providing an availability timeline, while also bringing it to iOS.

September 17, 2019

Pocket Casts goes free with existing features included, adds ‘Plus’ subscription

The podcasting industry is booming with heavy investment from large players like Google, Apple, and Spotify. NPR and a public radio consortium last year acquired Pocket Casts to offer its own experience and already released a major update in March with version 7.0. Today, Pocket Casts is going free and adding a “Plus” subscription.

Report: Facebook targeting 2023-25 for ‘Orion’ smart glasses that replace phones

Facebook’s interest in AR smart glasses was telegraphed by Mark Zuckerberg at the company’s 2016 developer conference. A new report today reveals some details about Facebook’s “Orion” project and a possible time frame.

July 15, 2019

Google killing AdSense on Android and iOS this year for the web

AdSense allows publishers to easily place advertising on their sites, with Google offering mobile apps to track views and revenue. Google today announced that it is killing the Android and iOS clients, with the web positioned as an upcoming alternative.

July 10, 2019

Google Nest kills smartwatch apps for Wear OS and Apple Watch

Over the past month, the new “Google Nest” replaced Nest.com with the Google Store and gained a new Help Center. The unified brand has now killed its Wear OS and Apple Watch apps for home control right from your wrist.

May 17, 2019

Call of Duty Mobile beta coming to Android and iOS this week, further intel

The announcement that one of the most popular PC and console FPS franchises ever would be coming to both Android and iOS is a pretty big deal. Now fresh intel has come directly from Activision, and they are telling us to expect the first Call of Duty Mobile beta within the next week.

May 11, 2019

Google Pixel 3a ad hammers ‘Phone X’ on price and Night Sight

The Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL went immediately on sale at physical and online retailers after Google announced them on stage at I/O 2019 on Tuesday. Similarly, the marketing campaign is in full swing with one billboard from Made by Google driving home camera performance and price versus “Phone X.”

April 5, 2019

Report: Google Wifi was Eero’s ‘biggest challenge’ before fire sale to Amazon

Amazon’s acquisition of Eero in February signified another big smart home entry by the online retailer following voice assistants and other connected devices. However, consumers decried the lost of another independent hardware brand. A new report today reveals that Amazon bought Eero in a fire sale, and that Google and Nest posed serious competition.

March 30, 2019

Apple Music for Android lays the groundwork for Chromecast support [APK Insight]

Even after Monday’s “show time” event, Apple Music is still the company’s only service available on Android. The client does feature tablet and Chromebook compatibility, with Chromecast support for playback on Google Home speakers now possibly in development.

March 28, 2019

Gboard 2.0 brings advanced background, key, and glide theming to iOS [Gallery]

Gboard for Android and iOS maintain relative feature parity on key functionality, but on occasion one app surpasses the other. Gboard 2.0 for iOS today adds a slew of customization options for the keyboard ranging from backgrounds, keys, and even the glide swipe trail.

March 12, 2019

Chrome 73 for desktops rolling out w/ Mac Dark Mode support, upcoming settings changes

The latest release of Google Chrome is rolling out today for Mac, Windows, and Linux. On desktops, Chrome 73 introduces a handful of changes related to syncing and account sign-in, as well as developer support for hardware media keys and Auto Picture-in-Picture. However, the most significant user-facing addition is a Dark Mode for macOS.

March 11, 2019

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite detailed, Android pre-registration on Google Play opens [Gallery]

Following Ingress and Pokémon Go, formerly Google-owned Niantic’s next augmented reality experience is Wizards Unite. Leveraging Harry Potter’s Wizarding World, the premise of the game was fully detailed today, with pre-registration now available on Google Play for Android.

March 6, 2019

Google fixes Chrome zero-day exploit, security update rolling out to Mac, Windows, Android, & Chrome OS

After releasing an incremental update for Chrome on Mac, Windows, and Linux last Friday, Google revealed yesterday that it addresses a zero-day exploit. The company’s security team advises users to update Chrome on all platforms immediately as there is evidence of a malicious party actively using the attack.

February 25, 2019

Apple Music support for Google Home speakers, Smart Displays spotted [Update]

At MWC 2019, Google announced Assistant for Messages on Android, expanded availability in Google Maps, and more languages for bilingual support. The next feature for Google Home speakers and Smart Displays appears to be Apple Music integration.

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