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Pixel and Nexus March 2017 factory images and OTAs are live, plus new security bulletin

Factory images for the March 2017 security update for most supported Pixel and Nexus devices are now up on Google's developer sites here and here. That includes the Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Pixel C, Nexus 9 (+LTE), and Nexus 6. Builds for the Pixels are NOF27B for all variants except devices on Rogers, which should use build NOF27C.

The Nexus Player appears to be left out of the March updates at this point.

You can find the accompanying security bulletin here, which as usual lists a significant number of security threats that have now been eliminated.

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Google and Samsung will be rivals more than ever in 2017 (opinion)

While Google and Samsung have long sought to talk up their various partnerships over the years, there is little doubt for me that 2017 will be the year in which the two giants go after one another more aggressively than ever before in their history. Samsung actively presents a threat to Android's diversity, and Google must step in to stem the bleeding of an increasingly unprofitable device ecosystem. Samsung's challenges in wearables, television, and smart home also are a major cause for concern to Google as Samsung increasingly leverages its smartphone dominance.

Samsung and Google have been close collaborators from the days of the original Galaxy S, a phone launched almost seven years ago.

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[Update: Fix coming soon] Bluetooth randomly turning itself off on some devices, including the Pixel and Pixel XL

Over the past week or so, hundreds of users have reported about a particularly annoying bug with Bluetooth on the Pixel and Pixel XL. For seemingly no reason at all, Bluetooth will suddenly turn off. It can be turned back on just fine, but it will later shut itself off again.

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The last update to Google's Phone app may be linked to Bluetooth calling issues

Google regularly rolls out updates to the dialer app on its phones via the Play Store. In the most recent update, the changelog claims "bug fixes," but many users are reporting it introduced a new bug. Dozens of reviews on the Play Store say the February 10th update broke Bluetooth calling.

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The February security OTA may have fixed the Pixel speaker issue for some people

Back in December, we reported on an issue afflicting certain Google Pixel handsets, whereby the speaker would make a 'popping' sound, otherwise described as a harsh clipping, when watching videos or listening to music with the sound at a specific volume. However, not all devices were affected, and it was unclear what exactly was causing the problem.

In the recent February security update, this seems to have been at least partially solved. According to a thread on /r/GooglePixel, many users are saying the issue is no more after testing on a trailer for The Mummy. Others are saying it has not been fixed, and it is still happening, as bad as it was before, although those commenting it has gone as of this month seem to outweigh the people whose devices still have the issue.

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[Bullshit Alert] No, Google has not stopped production of the Pixel

An alarming report was circulating the internet earlier today claiming that Google had stopped production of the Pixel and Pixel XL. Yeah, it didn't make a lot of sense, and indeed it appears to be incorrect. Google has confirmed the Pixel is still in production. You can put your pitchforks down now.

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New Google Artworks Live Cases feature Opening Ceremony designs worn by the New York Ballet

The simulation hypothesis is a scientific proposal that the world in which we live is, in fact, a massive and incredibly complex computer simulation. Many people in the United States are being won over by this theory, because lately it feels like we're all tiny characters in an increasingly cruel game of The Sims, right about the time that the omnipotent player-god gets bored and starts to screw with us. In completely and totally unrelated news, here are some fresh Live Case designs from Google. Enjoy.

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Google announces Android 7.1.2 Beta, includes Pixels, Nexus 5X, Player, 6P, and Pixel C [update: images]

Google has just announced Android 7.1.2, a maintenance release focused on fixing bugs and improving performance. The initial devices eligible for the update are the Nexus 5X, Nexus Player, Pixel C, and both Pixel phone models. The Nexus 6P will be eligible, but not yet, with Google saying they expect the 7.1.2 beta will be "released soon."

Factory images don't yet appear to be live. Factory images are live here. Be sure to enroll your device in the beta program if you want to receive the OTA, which Google says will start rolling out soon.

As for what's changed? Google doesn't really say beyond a cryptic reference to "enhancements for carriers and users," whatever that means.

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Is your Google Pixel's rapid charging feeling less rapid lately?

I put out a question on Twitter a few minutes ago asking if anyone else was feeling like their Pixel was charging more slowly lately. The response was mixed, but some definitely concurred with me: For whatever reason, the Pixel's (and/or Pixel XL) rapid charging definitely isn't feeling so rapid sometimes.

I've consistently noticed when putting my Pixel on the official Google rapid charger (the one in the box) that it's taking much longer to charge than it should, regardless of whatever the indicated battery level is. At very low levels, I've seen the phone take nearly three hours to reach peak charge, which is well above what should be happening based on what we know about the charging speed.

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PSA: Google Assistant can remember things, on Allo, Pixel, and Home

We've often lamented the rather lacklustre approach Google has taken with Google Assistant, but it can do one thing: remember stuff. On all three things which use Assistant - that's Allo, Pixel, and Home - it can recall things it's been asked to remember. As Assistant is cross-platform, this works across all three devices; telling it to remember something on Home and then asking on Pixel does indeed work.

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