Google Pixel

Google Pixel

Sprint offering up to $325 in account credits if you activate the Pixel/Pixel XL on their network

Currently, Verizon is the only US carrier selling Google’s Pixel phones. However, T-Mobile started offering account credits to those who activate either the Google Pixel or Pixel XL on their network back in October. Now, Sprint is apparently doing the same thing. According to a report from Android Police, the carrier has sent out a promo to selected customers via email, offering them up to $325 in account credits if they bring an unlocked Pixel/Pixel XL smartphone to their network.

The $325 in credits is valid for the Pixel XL and is delivered equally over the course of 24 months — $13.55 per month. Those who have the smaller of Google’s two devices are eligible to receive up to $240 in credits, or $10 per month.

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As already said, the offer is currently only available to selected users. But if you haven’t received an email from Sprint but would consider getting the deal, there’s still hope. Simply contact Sprint’s support, tell them that you’re interested in the Pixel promo, and hope for the best. Who knows, you just might get lucky.

But keep in mind that the promo will end soon, as it’s only available until the end of the month. So if you’re thinking of getting the deal, you’ll have to move fast.

If you do decide to contact Sprint regarding the promo, let us know if you were able to get it.

Google looking into reported issues with Pixel’s Double-tap to wake feature

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If you own either the Google Pixel or Pixel XL, and have had issues getting the smartphone’s Double-tap to wake feature to work regularly, you are apparently not alone. Google is now looking into a number of reports that claim the popular feature is not working consistently.

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Best Google Pixel and Pixel XL cases

November 7, 2016

Some of those online reports claim that the feature has issues when the Pixel is in its Doze power saving mode, with the Double-tap feature working only after owners move the phone slightly. 9to5Google reports there is a small workaround that allows Double-tap to engage more accurately if the owner changes the Pixel’s lock time to ‘immediately’ after sleep.

In any case, it appears that Google knows there is a problem with the Pixel’s Double-tap feature. A company product manager has confirmed that the team is “working towards a future fix.” Hopefully that can be made available soon.

In the meantime, if you do own a Pixel or Pixel XL, have you experienced any issues with getting the Double-tap to wake feature to work on your device? If that’s the case, feel free to let us know and post your impressions in the comments, along with if the workaround actually does work for you.

Google Store spreads holiday cheer with free expedited shipping until Dec. 21

If you are still looking to get the perfect tech gift for a family member or friend, Google wants to help out with a special offer. From now until December 21 at 3 p.m. Eastern time, the Google Store hardware retail site is offering free expedited shipping for any orders.

See also:

Google Home review – the future of the home?

November 18, 2016

That means any orders made on the site in that time frame should be shipped out and arrive at your doorstep, or the person you bought the product for, before Christmas. This is an excellent offer for people who want to get a new Google Pixel or Pixel XL smartphone, or perhaps a Daydream View VR headset to go with it.  You can also get the Google Home connected speaker, a Chromecast streaming dongle like the 4K-capable Chromecast Ultra, and even more products and accessories before the big day arrives, and not have to spend anything on shipping.

Google’s support page does point out that people who place their order on the Google Store site before 11 a.m. in their local time zone should count from the day they place the order, Orders turned in after 11 a.m. in their local time should be counted from the day after the order is placed.

Will you be ordering from the Google Store for a last-minute holiday gift?

Google is giving out Pixel holiday sweaters at their NYC pop-up

Winter is coming here. While we walk aimlessly about the streets being warmed by our hot cocoa and layers and layers of clothing, there are some that have long since missed the welcoming heat we take for granted. It used to be the case that smartphones would heat themselves up quite a bit after the slightest bit of use, but these days selfish advances in cooling technology have caused our smartphones to keep cool under most conditions. While this might seem jolly and fine for us as users, the brisk winter nights can maker our devices wish for the coming of the summer season.

Google has heard the call of our personal assistants, and has decided to take advantage of its advanced 3D printing technologies to provide these lowly devices with cute little holiday sweaters.

See also:

Google Pixel XL review: a Pixel’s perspective

October 27, 2016

Joking aside, if you stop by a Google pop-up shop in New York City within the next week, you can pick up a free mini sweater for your Pixel device. All you have to do is show the attendants that you have a Pixel, and they will use their 3D yarn printer to make you a custom cover for your Pixel or Pixel XL. The sweaters come in a variety of colors, and have a little ‘G’ logo being covered in snowfall. If you’re one of the first 150 to grab one today, the company will also give you a full sized sweater to rock along with your device.

If you happen to miss the event or don’t live anywhere near New York City, you can also pick up a holiday sweater edition Google Live Case, which will give you quite a bit more protection as it is. In addition, you can get a $15 discount on these cases if you use the promo code HOLIDAYLIVECASE. Find them here.

While the sweater obviously isn’t going to be very protective for your phone, it’s still a nice gesture from the company. For those who want to get a free cover, head over to the popup and let us know what you get.

The company is currently showing off a number of their creations on their Snapchat story (@Google), so head over there if you want to see how these are being made. Looking to pick one up?

Verizon offers the Google Pixel and others for free with eligible phone trade-in

If you’ve been eyeing Google’s Pixel or Pixel XL but don’t want to spend the money to get one, you’re in luck. Verizon has just announced a new promotion that will let new customers trade in their existing device to net them a new smartphone for free.

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Best Verizon Android phones

3 weeks ago

Starting today, you’ll be able to get an iPhone 7iPhone 7 PlusMoto Z or Moto Z Force, Samsung Galaxy S7Galaxy S7 Edge, or LG V20 for free when you trade in an eligible phone. That’s certainly not a bad deal, as most of the phones listed here cost quite the pretty penny.

Let’s talk about the fine print before you run off to the local Verizon store, though. To get the “free” phone, you’ll first have to buy your new phone and activate it on a Verizon plan, then you’ll receive up to $792 in bill credit that will be applied over a 24-month period. Also, your existing phone must be in “good, working and cosmetic condition” to be eligible for trade in. The list of eligible trade-in phones can be found at this link.

While that may sound like a few too many caveats, this is actually a really good deal if you’re sick of your current phone. If you’re interested, be sure to head to the source link below to get all the details on this limited time promotion.

Google Pixel XL 32 GB back in stock at Google Store

The Google Pixel XL 32 GB model is back in stock at the Google online store. The device is shipping within two to three weeks for the limited edition ‘Really Blue’ model, or four to five weeks for the ‘Very Silver’ and ‘Quite Black’ variants. Meanwhile, the 128 GB version remains out of stock in both black and silver variants with no indication of when it will next be available.

The Google Pixel phones have been frequently out of stock since they launched on October 20, with the Pixel XL being in particularly short supply. The device is also currently unavailable at BestBuy with no ETA and Verizon, which provides an estimated shipping date of January 20.

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Recently, finance firm Morgen Stanley predicted that Google would sell three million Pixel phones in 2016, and a further five or six million next year, generating almost $4 billion in revenue for the company. Without the inventory, it might struggle to hit those figures.

For more on Google’s latest flagship, head to our full Google Pixel XL review.

Developers can now write apps for the Assistant on Google Home

Google Assistant will be getting a lot more useful starting today. The digital voice assistant that’s available in the new Google Home connected speaker is now open to third-party app developers.

Specifically, the developer platform for Google Assistant, Actions on Google, is now allowing developers to create conversation actions that can be used by Google Home owners. The platform has been designed so that developers don’t have to make users enable a skill, like on Amazon’s Alexa platform. All the user will have to is begin a normal conversation with the connected speaker to initialize the specific app.

Developers can now write apps for the Assistant on Google Home

Many companies are already working on apps with the Actions on Google platform, including CNBC, Yahoo Fantasy, BuzzFeed, Dominos and more. Google plans to extend this developer platform for Google Assistant to the Pixel phones as well as the company’s Allo app.  Future plans call for apps that can be used for purchases and bookings via the platform.

It will be very interesting to see just what types of apps and conversations will be made available with the Google Assistant developer platform. What would you like to see your Google Home do for you with these apps?

Problems with the Google Pixel and Pixel XL and how to fix them

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Google moved into the premium smartphone space with their latest smartphone offerings, the Pixel and the Pixel XL. The new devices, that have been designed from the ground up by Google, are priced to compete directly with the current flagships from Apple and Samsung, and come with some great features, like the Google Assistant. If you are looking for the best that Android has to offer, it doesn’t get more Google than the Pixel and Pixel XL.

However, as is the case with any smartphone or tablet, the Pixel and Pixel XL are not without their issues. If you have come across any of them, we’re here to help you out, with this roundup of some of the common problems that Pixel and Pixel XL owners face, and offer potential solutions on how to fix them!

Disclaimer: Not every Pixel and Pixel XL smartphone will have these issues, and in fact, it is more than likely that you won’t come across any of these problems at all. 


Problem #1 – Screen auto-rotate not working

Problems with the Google Pixel and Pixel XL and how to fix them

Some have found that the auto-rotate feature does not work as expected even though the setting is enabled.

Potential solutions:

  • A rogue app may be causing this issue. To check if this is the case, boot the device in Safe Mode (you can find how to do so below), and see if the problem persists. If it doesn’t, a recently-installed application causing the issue. Uninstall any apps that were added just before the problem started, and see if that fixes it.
  • This could also be an issue with the accelerometer and G-sensor as well. Download an app from the Google Play Store like GPS & Status Toolbox and re-calibrate the sensors, and see if that fixes it. If this is proves to be a hardware issue, the only option will be to pick up a replacement.
  • A temporary workaround that has worked for some is using an third-party app, such as Rotation Control, that will let you manually trigger the switch to the landscape orientations.

Problem #2 – Text messages not working

Problems with the Google Pixel and Pixel XL and how to fix them

Some users have found that they are unable to send or receive text messages on their new Pixel or Pixel XL.

Potential solutions:

  • This issue has been faced mostly by users who have switched to the Pixel from the iPhone, and is related to iMessage. If you still have your old iPhone, go to Settings – Messages and turn off iMessage. If you have already sold it, you will need de-register the number from iMessage. You can do so here.
  • Make sure that you haven’t accidentally blocked some users. Open the Messenger app and open the additional menu by tapping on the three vertical dots at the top right corner. Open “Blocked Contacts” and see if there are any numbers that aren’t supposed to be there.

Problem #3 – Delayed notifications

Problems with the Google Pixel and Pixel XL and how to fix them

Some users have come across delayed notifications, with notifications coming in a few hours later sometimes. This is usually related to any email and messaging apps that are running.

Potential solutions:

  • This issue seems to be caused by the new active Doze mode that is available with the Pixel and Pixel XL to help get a lot more out of your battery life. However, it looks it results in notifications not arriving, or getting delayed. Until the apps are updated to address this problem, you may be better off removing these apps, like Gmail, Whatsapp, and more, from the list of apps that are optimized. Go to Battery – Settings (three vertical dots) – Battery Optimization, open the “All apps” section from the drop down menu, go to the relevant app, and tap on “Don’t optimize.” So far, users have reported that this doesn’t affect battery life significantly either.

Problem #4 – “OK, Google” voice command issues

Problems with the Google Pixel and Pixel XL and how to fix them

Some users have found that the “OK, Google” voice command needs to be repeated a few times to launch the Google Assistant.

Potential solutions:

  • This issue seems to be related to the Fingerprint Gestures app, which adds a slew of features that you can use with the fingerprint scanner. While the app is helpful, uninstalling the app does seem to fix the issue with using the voice command. Until the app is updated, you will have to choose between using the gestures or having to repeat “OK, Google” a couple of times.
  • This may also be related to Doze mode, with the device requiring a few attempts before recognizing the voice command. Hopefully, a future software update will address this problem.

Problem #5 – Issues that will be fixed with future software updates

Problems with the Google Pixel and Pixel XL and how to fix them

There are some problems that do not have any workarounds or solutions available, and the only option is to wait for a software update.

  • Camera issues: Quite a few users have come across the Halo effect problem, and now, Pixel owners are also seeing purple lines and bars across the viewfinder. This is software problem that Google is working on addressing and will be fixed with a future software update. Until then, you can use a third-party camera app that you can download from the Google Play Store.
  • Microphone issues: Some users have come across issues with the device microphone, with people at the other of the line unable to hear anything during calls. Toggling the speakerphone while on a call seems to work, and a reboot seems to temporarily fix the problem, but this is another software issue that will be fixed.
  • Bluetooth issues: Users had a lot of trouble getting their smartphone to connect to their cars, Bluetooth speakers, smartwatches, and more. The Bluetooth problems appear to have been addressed in the Android 7.1.1 update that is rolling out right now.

Problem #6 – Connectivity issues

Problems with the Google Pixel and Pixel XL and how to fix them

As is the case with any new device, you may find yourself facing some connectivity issues with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Potential solutions:

Wi-Fi issues

  • Turn the device and the router off for at least ten seconds, then turn them back and retry the connection.
  • Go to Settings – Power saving and ensure that this option is turned off.
  • Use the Wi-Fi Analyzer to check how crowded your channel is, and switch to a better option.
  • Forget the Wi-Fi connection by going to Settings – Wi-Fi and long tapping the connection you want, then selecting “Forget”. Re-enter the details and try again.
  • Make sure the router firmware is up to date.
  • Make sure the applications and software on the device are up to date.
  • Go into Wi-Fi – Settings – Advanced and make a note of your device MAC address, then make sure that it is allowed access in the router’s MAC filter.

Bluetooth issues

  • With issues when connecting to the car, check the manufacturer’s manual for the device and the car and reset your connections.
  • Ensure that you are not missing a vital part of the connection process.
  • Go to Settings – Bluetooth and ensure nothing needs changing
  • Go into Settings – Bluetooth delete all prior pairings and try setting them up again from scratch.
  • When it comes to issues with multiple device connection, only a future update will be able to address this problem.

Guides – Hard reset, Safe Mode, wipe cache partition, turning on LED notification, new Ambient Display features

Problems with the Google Pixel and Pixel XL and how to fix them

Hard reset:

  • Turn off the phone
  • Hold the volume down button and Power button simultaneously until the device switches on.
  • You should see “Start” with an arrow
  • Tap volume down twice and the power button to enter Recovery Mode
  • Hold the power button then press and release the volume up button
  • Use the volume buttons to select wipe data/factory reset
  • Choose “Yes – erase all data” with the power button

Safe Mode:

  • Hold the power button after ensuring the screen is on.
  • Tap and hold the Power off selection in the menu
  • Tap OK to initiate Safe Mode

Wipe cache partition:

  • Turn off the phone
  • Hold the volume down button and Power button simultaneously until the device switches on.
  • You should see “Start” with an arrow
  • Tap volume down twice and the power button to enter Recovery Mode
  • Use the volume buttons to select Wipe cache partition

Enabling notification LED

  • Go to Settings – Notifications.
  • Tap on the gear icon at the top right corner.
  • Turn on “Pulse notification light.”
  • To get more control over the notification LED, download an app like Light Flow from the Google Play Store.

New Ambient display features

  • Google has introduced two new features to make the Ambient Display even better, including the double-tap to check phone, and lift to check phone.
  • Go to Settings – Moves and turn on the new settings.

So, there you have it for this roundup of some of the common problems faced by Google Pixel and Pixel XL owners, and potential solutions on how to fix them. We will continue to update this list as more issues and solutions come up. If you have come across any others, do let us know in the comments section below, or talk about it in our official forum.

Problems with the Google Pixel and Pixel XL and how to fix them

Until then, don’t let this small list of problems deter you from picking one of the best Android smartphones currently available. All of these issues are software related and will be fixed in upcoming updates, and timely software updates is one of the best parts about owning a Google device.

Google Pixel and Pixel XL get VoLTE support for Reliance Jio with Android 7.1.1 update

The Pixel and Pixel XL snagged the Android 7.1.1 update this week, which also brought the much-requested VoLTE support for the smartphones in India.

After the public release of Reliance Jio, and the free run for initial customers, Jio has acquired over 50 million subscribers already, and as a 4G-only carrier, Jio only supports voice calls over LTE. Hence, there was considerable interest in the feature, but the Pixel and Pixel XL devices sold in India did not have VoLTE support as yet.

Google Pixel and Pixel XL get VoLTE support for Reliance Jio with Android 7.1.1 update

With the latest update though, you can now make voice calls over LTE. In the Network settings, you can now enable the Enhanced 4G LTE Mode which allow users to Use LTE services to improve voice and other communications. Once enabled, the ‘HD’ symbol in the status bar on the top indicates that VoLTE is enabled.

The Android Nougat 7.1.1 OTA update comes bundled with the December security updates and is available across entire Nexus line-up as well as the Pixel devices.

Google posts Android 7.1.1 Nougat factory images for Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6P, 5X and more

Right on schedule, Google has posted Android 7.1.1 Nougat factory images for all current Pixel and Nexus devices. This update not only brings with it a consumer-ready version of Android 7.1.1, but also December’s Android security patch.

Android 7.1.1 factory images are live for the Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Pixel C, Nexus 9 (Wi-Fi and LTE), as well as the Nexus Player. For build numbers and download links, see below:

If you’ve never flashed a factory image to your device, you can learn how to do so here. Google has also posted OTA links for each of these devices, which can be found at this link. And if you’re looking for specific changes pertaining to the December Android security patch, head to the Android Security Bulletin for the details.

The Nexus 6 has received a new build of Android 7.0 (NBD91U) that contains the December security patch, but unfortunately there’s no 7.1.1 build this time around.

Earlier today, Verizon posted a changelog for the Pixel and Pixel XL’s Android 7.1.1 Nougat update, which also contains a number of bug fixes and performance improvements. Google has yet to officially announce the 7.1.1 update on its blog, but we’ll let you know when it does.

See also:

Android 7.0 Nougat review: an Android version for Android fans

October 21, 2016