Pixel XL may lose fast charging after Android Pie update

Android Pie has been out for a week; now Google's latest mobile operating system has a problem. Users of the company's own Pixel XL from 2016 are reporting issues with fast chargers after they've updated to Pie. People aren't seeing the "Charging rap…

Android exploit targeted apps’ shoddy use of external storage

Many mobile security flaws revolve around obvious avenues like websites or deep, operating system-level exploits. The security team at Check Point, however, has discovered another path: apps that make poor use of external storage like SD cards. Whi…

‘Fortnite’ Android beta invitations open to non-Samsung devices

Samsung's Fortnite mini exclusive didn't last quite as long as expected. The 9to5Google team has noticed that, as promised, you can both sign up for an invitation and pre-install the beta directly through Epic's website. You'll still have to wait for…

Ibuki is the 10-year-old robot child that will haunt your dreams

Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro makes robots in Osaka. His latest robot, Ibuki, is one for the nightmare catalog: it’s a robotic 10-year-old boy that can move on little tank treads and has soft, rubbery face and hands.

The robot has complete vision routes that can scan for faces and it has a sort of half-track system for moving around. It has “involuntary” motions like blinking and little head bobs but is little more than a proof-of-concept right now, especially considering its weird robo-skull is transparent.

“An Intelligent Robot Infrastructure is an interaction-based infrastructure. By interacting with robots, people can establish nonverbal communications with the artificial systems. That is, the purpose of a robot is to exist as a partner and to have valuable interactions with people,” wrote Ishiguro. “Our objective is to develop technologies for the new generation information infrastructures based on Computer Vision, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence.”

Ishiguro is a roboticist who plays on the borders of humanity. He made a literal copy of himself in 2010. His current robots are even more realistic and Ibuki’s questing face and delicate hands are really very cool. That said, expect those soft rubber hands to one day close around your throat when the robots rise up to take back what is theirs. Good luck, humans!


Fossil announces new update Android Wear watches with HR tracking, GPS

Fossil’s Q watch line is an interesting foray by a traditional fashion watchmaker into the wearable world. Their latest additions to the line, the Fossil Q Venture HR and Fossil Q Explorist HR, add a great deal of Android Wear functionality to a watch that is reminiscent of Fossil’s earlier, simpler watches. In other words, these are some nice, low-cost smartwatches for the fitness fan.

The original Q watches included a clever hybrid model with analog face and step counter. As the company expanded into wearables, however, they went Android Wear route and created a number of lower-powered touchscreen watches. Now, thanks to a new chipset, Fossil is able to add a great deal more functionality in a nice package. The Venture and the Explorist adds untethered GPS, NFC, heart rate, and 24 hour battery life. It also includes an altimeter and gyroscope sensor.

The new watches start at $255 and run the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip, an optimized chipset for fitness watches.

The watch comes in multiple styles and with multiple bands and features 36 different faces including health and fitness-focused faces for the physically ambitious. The watch also allows you to pay with Google Pay – Apple Pay isn’t supported – and you can store content on the watch for runs or walks. It also tracks swims and is waterproof. The Venture and Explorist are 40mm and 45mm respectively and the straps are interchangeable. While they’re no $10,000 Swiss masterpiece, these things look – and work – pretty good.

Google Assistant’s visual smart home controls are on the way

You don't have to pick up a smart display to use touch-savvy controls in Google Assistant. Users at Droid Life and elsewhere have noticed that Google is rolling out visual smart home controls (teased back at I/O in May) to mobile devices. When you…

Qualcomm invites us to see its new Wear OS chip on September 10th

Even as wearable devices have become more popular, the hardware backing many Wear OS (formerly known as Android Wear) devices hasn't seen an update since Qualcomm's 2100 SOC arrived in 2016. Now, as promised, a new chip will be unveiled later this ye…

Gmail for iOS and Android now lets you turn off conversation view

When Gmail launched with its threaded conversation view feature as the default and only option, some people sure didn’t like it and Google quickly allowed users to turn it off. On mobile, though, you were stuck with it. But here’s some good news for you conversation view haters: you can now turn it off on mobile, too.

The ability to turn off conversation view is now rolling out to all Gmail app users on iOS and Android . So if you want Gmail to simply show you all emails as they arrive, without grouping them to”make them easier to digest and follow,” you’re now free to do so.

If you’ve always just left conversation view on by default, maybe now is a good time to see if you like the old-school way of looking at your email better. I personally prefer conversation view since it helps me keep track of conversations (and I get too many emails already), but it’s pretty much a personal preference.

To make the change, simply tap on your account name in the Settings menu and look for the “conversation view” check box. That’s it. Peace restored.