Android Police

Pixel 2

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Google Assistant is able to troubleshoot problems on your phone (Pixel 2 only, for now)

The Google Assistant on the Pixel 2 and 2 XL is more powerful than ever before, and it can help you do a bunch of things with your phone like change settings or initiate a conversation with support. Thanks to a whimsical request from a reader, we now know about one more ability the Assistant has.

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Bootloader unlocking appears to be disabled on some Pixel 2 phones purchased from Google [Update: Fixed]

Many people, like myself, look at Google's phones for one specific reason: they have an easily unlocked bootloader. That means when software support runs dry, or you get the itch to root/ROM, you can modify things without having to compound any potential security concerns with additional issues like exploits or undocumented software. If that's your motivation too, this news could be a small concern. Some Pixel 2s purchased directly from Google seem to have locked-down bootloaders. 

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The Pixel 2 uses "Fused Video Stabilization," and the technology behind it is incredible

With its new Pixel 2 phones, Google introduced something called Fused Video Stabilization which fixes the so-called "terminator effect" the original Pixels suffered. It's a proprietary combination of optical image stabilization, electronic image stabilization, and the company's fancy machine learning tech. Its results are stellar, giving Google's Pixel 2 phones one of the best, if not the best, video capturing results out there. Since we know that it works well, now the burning question is: how does it work?

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Use this IFTTT applet to log your Pixel 2 Now Playing history to a Google Spreadsheet

The Pixel 2 and 2 XL have a nifty always listening music ID feature. You can simply look at your phone and see a "Now Playing" notification that tells you if the phone has heard a popular song. Google doesn't keep a log of the songs you encounter, but you can do that yourself with IFTTT.

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Pixel 2 cameras don't like LED lights, display strange banding when aimed in their direction

There's no doubting that Google's 2nd generation Pixels are excellent phones, but like any major release, they've not been without their fair share of teething problems. The screen of the Pixel 2 XL has captured the most headlines, with various issues which may or may not have been overblown in some media circles. With all that talk of the display, the camera must have been feeling left out. Well not anymore.

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Pixel 2's muted mic issue may be fixed by blowing into the bottom speaker Nintendo-style

Half the utility of a smartphone is obvious from its very name. At a minimum, it should be able to make calls, which requires a working mic and speaker. For some, half of that simple equation is missing when it comes to the Pixel 2 and its microphone. When making calls, it just doesn't work. The current workaround is straight out of an NES-equipped childhood: blow into it. 

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Home Mini promo codes from Pixel 2 pre-order promo are starting to go out

Like most other companies do when they launch an expensive new flagship phone, Google offered a free product with the purchase of a Pixel 2 or 2 XL - in this case, the Home Mini. Exactly four weeks after Google told Pixel 2 pre-orderers that their Home Mini codes would come within four weeks of their phones shipping, we've begun to receive tips from readers who are getting their codes right now.

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Google posts system images and OTA files for Pixel 2 XL November update, plus new builds for Pixel 2 [Update: No KRACK update]

Google started rolling out its November patches yesterday, but the Pixel 2 XL was conspicuously absent until later in the day. Even when the OTA began rolling out, Google had not posted the files on its developer site. Now, those files are live and ready for sideloading. The Pixel 2 also has some new builds in addition to the ones from yesterday.

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Google's new Pixel 2 ad highlights Assistant, the camera, and fast charging

The Pixel 2 and 2 XL may have not garnered universal praise, but there's no denying that Google's new phones can do a lot of cool things. Sure, plenty of other Android smartphones with Assistant have access to near-identical features, but it's Google's DNA in there that makes all of them possible. So I guess we can forgive Google for the extra gloating and enjoy this neat ad for the Pixel 2.

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Google's November update lowers Pixel 2 XL maximum brightness, adds fading navigation buttons from 8.1 DP1 to both Pixel 2s

The numerous worries about the Pixel 2 XL's display were addressed by Google in late October, and the company is taking action now. The November update not only adds the promised saturated color mode to the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, but also a number of other minor tweaks, including a slightly lower maximum brightness for the Pixel 2 XL and fading soft keys for both the Pixel 2 and 2 XL.

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