wave of software news for Pixel smartphones and not only that: in the past few hours, news has emerged of the return of a “power user” feature on the Pixel Launcher and the arrival of the dashcam mode. We also have a minor update of the latest Android 13 QPR3 Beta, with some bug fixes. All the details below.
PIXEL LAUNCHER: ”QUICK LAUNCH” IS COMING BACK
The Quick Launch feature is returning to Pixel Launcher: it existed a while ago, then Google took it away with the distribution of the unified search bar. It works exactly as before: you start typing the name of the app you want to start and as soon as it is highlighted by the autocomplete system just hit enter on the virtual keyboard to open the app.
The paradigm comes from way back when smartphones weren’t even born yet: software like Launchy was very popular among power users on desktop computers. The novelty was initially spotted in the QPR2 Beta of Android 13, but had to be enabled manually; it seems that now Google has started the roll-out on the stable channel – there is positive feedback on a Pixel 7 updated to the May security patches and with stable QPR2 version.
Google recently released a new version of the Personal Safety app (the app responsible for features like car crash detection, emergency location sharing, and more) on the Play Store, and rummaging through its resources colleagues from 9to5google have discovered that a “dashcam mode”, in fact, which allows you to transform your smartphone into a video camera for vehicles.
The function is not currently active in the app (for reference, the version is 2023.04.27.532191641.8-dogfood), but by enabling it you can start recording video and, if you wish, audio via a special icon on the main page of Personal Safety. When the registration is active, the smartphone continues to remain 100% usable (well, clearly no more photos can be taken!), including navigation on Maps.
You can turn off the screen to save battery, the recording will continue. You can also ensure that video recording starts automatically when you connect to a certain Bluetooth device (your car speakerphone, for example) and stops when you disconnect. Recordings are automatically deleted after three days, unless you decide to keep them, to save space; for the same reason, the videos are compressed (average is 30MB per minute) and there is a 24 hour length limit.
According to the source, the feature is very mature and already working well – in a nutshell, it is deemed ready for stable launch. Only note: apparently it only works with the main camera – the ultra wide angle it might be a wiser choice because it manages to capture a wider field of view. It’s worth mentioning that Personal Safety isn’t a Pixel-exclusive app, though some of its features are, at least temporarily. In this case nothing suggests this, but we will have to see how Google decides to move.
ANDROID 13 QPR3 BETA 3.2 DISTRIBUTION
Just a couple of weeks after the release of Beta 3.1, 3.2 is available on compatible Pixels (Pixel 4a (also 5G), Pixel 5 and 5a, Pixel 6, 6a and 6 Pro, Pixel 7 and 7 Pro). The news are very few, as one might expect, and the changelog includes just some bug fixes. We present it to you below:
- Fixed an input sync issue with System UI that prevented Windows from receiving touch input or receiving it at the wrong coordinates.
- Fixed an issue that could cause calls over Wi-Fi to get disconnected.
- Fixed an issue that could prevent a SIM card from being properly detected or activated when setting up the phone.
- Fixed an issue where a device may fail to register IMS over Wi-Fi when switching from LTE to a Wi-Fi network.
- Fixed issues that caused sudden drops in cellular connectivity speed or reliability.
Here are the links to the Factory and OTA Images if you need them:
- Pixel 7 Pro: Factory | OTA
- Pixel 7: Factory | OTA
- Pixel 6a: Factory | OTA
- Pixel 6 Pro: Factory | OTA
- Pixel 6: Factory | OTA
- Pixel 5a: Factory | OTA
- Pixel 5: Factory | OTA
- Pixel 4a 5G: Factory | OTA
- Pixel 4a: Factory | OTA
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