How to install the Android Q beta

The Verge:

If you’re not the kind of person who wants to unlock your phone’s bootloader, I can’t blame you. Google lets Pixel owners enroll in the beta by simply logging in with a Google account, then selecting the compatible device that they’d like to install the beta. You’ll get an over-the-air update that way, just like you normally would for stable versions of Android.

Once you click “Enroll,” you’ll eventually get an update notification on the enrolled device that a system update is ready. You may need to check for a system update in order for it to fetch the beta software, but it usually doesn’t take long for it to be ready for download. (Google says it could take 24 hours or more, but we’ve rarely had to wait that long. The beta hit one of our phones less than a half-hour after enrolling it.) As new Android Q developer previews come out, you’ll get a notification to install them, too, as you would for any regular system update.

Alternatively, you can flash the Android Q beta to your Pixel phone. Google has provided a list of image downloads for the supported phones, but you should only take this road if you’re a developer, or if you just like to do things the hard way. Phones that are updated in this manner won’t receive over-the-air updates to upcoming beta versions, so if you want the latest Android Q features without much hassle, just enroll in the beta instead.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Face Unlock is Not Reliable

Ars Technica reporting:

There are a number of reports that say—surprise!—a 2D image sensor can be fooled by a 2D image. The Verge was able to unlock the device with a video, and YouTube channel Unbox Therapy was able to unlock the S10 just by playing one of its public channel videos in view of the camera. The worst example is probably from, which was able to unlock the Galaxy S10 by waving a still photo around in front of the device.

The Galaxy S10 can also reportedly have trouble telling different people apart. Security Researcher Jane Wong was able to unlock her brother’s phone with her face.

Not surprised.

Samsung Galaxy Wireless Earbuds Review

The Verge reporting:

The Galaxy Buds are the most forgettable true wireless earbuds I’ve yet tried. I put them in, and they’re so light that I can forget I’m wearing them. That can also be said of the AirPods, except any nearby reflective surface will remind me of their presence on my head.

In my testing, I tried using the Galaxy Buds with a Pixel 3 XL, and that pairing quickly devolved into a nightmare. I was assaulted with a barrage of connection drop-offs and disconnects while casually walking down the street with the phone in my pocket. No other pair of wireless headphones has given me this much of a headache, but Google’s had its own woes with Bluetooth in the past, so let’s call that an unfortunate combination.

Samsung just does’t care about fine details.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active Review 2019

The Verge:

The Active’s design is fairly generic. It comes in nicer colors than the black variant I reviewed, but all of them share the same understated style that almost looks like something Pebble would have made. It’s not flashy, but it works. The 20mm bands are easy to replace, as well.

But Samsung took something very important away from the Galaxy Watch Active: it lacks the rotating bezel that has proven to be an intuitive, natural, and fun control mechanism on the company’s other smartwatches. The Tizen Wearable OS 4.0 software is designed to put the display’s circular shape to good use, but navigating the Galaxy Watch Active can feel more finicky without the rotating bezel and its satisfying clicks.

For one, the watch’s software doesn’t really take into account this significant change in how you interact with it. The user experience is largely identical to that of the Galaxy Watch, and it’s clearly meant to work best with a rotating bezel that can quickly scroll through menus.

Translation: not as good as Apple.

Samsung Galaxy Foldable Smartphone Review

New York Magazine, Intelligencer:

It’s not just a matter of how smoothly the physical hinges work as the phone unfurls into tablet mode, but whether the underlying software is equally smooth. If I’m writing an email and want to expand out my workspace so I can drop in a link, how well does a folding phone handle that task? Smartphone UX still orbits entirely around the assumption that I, the user, focus on only one app at a time; there have been many attempts by various phone makers to make it easier to work in a split-screen mode, but none that I’ve tried that are satisfying to use.

Another make-or-break for folding phones: glass. As detailed by Brian Barrett in Wired, the folks at Corning, who supply the Gorilla Glass found in iPhones and a huge number of other smartphones, are working on creating scratch-resistant glass tensile enough to be used in a folding phone.

But there are two reasons why virtually every non-bendy smartphone on the market uses glass: it withstands scratches much better than plastic, and glass feels much better to the touch than plastic.

In 2017, Motorola tried to attack one of the biggest pain points for smartphone users with its Moto Z2 Force, featuring a “shatterproof” plastic screen. The phone was a dud — it picked up scratches remarkably fast, looked cloudy even before it got scratched up, and just felt cheap to the touch.

Seems more gimmicky than useful. With larger screens there is more battery consumption, which is not what anyone wants. What would be more useful is a way to use your phone as a desktop by plugging in a keyboard and monitor at your desk. Something like using your iPhone as an iMac at home.

Replacement Galaxy Note 7 Explodes, Endangers US Flight

Jordan Golson writing for The Verge

Southwest Airlines flight 944 from Louisville to Baltimore was evacuated this morning while still at the gate because of a smoking Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. All passengers and crew exited the plane via the main cabin door and no injuries were reported, a Southwest Airlines spokesperson told The Verge.

More worryingly, the phone in question was a replacement Galaxy Note 7, one that was deemed to be safe by Samsung. The Verge spoke to Brian Green, owner of the Note 7, on the phone earlier today and he confirmed that he had picked up the new phone at an AT&T store on September 21st. A photograph of the box shows the black square symbol that indicates a replacement Note 7 and Green said it had a green battery icon.

Samsung Galaxy = Scary.