In this week’s top stories: Google acquires microLED startup Raxium, password replacement ‘passkeys’ previewed, Mecool KD3 reviewed, and more.
After initially being rumored in March, Google announced this week that it would be acquiring Raxium, an “innovator in single panel MicroLED display technologies.” Reading between the lines a bit, it seems this may be part of Google gearing up its augmented reality hardware team.
This news comes as details of Meta’s competing efforts leaked earlier this week. Specifically, Meta is reportedly launching a second-generation mixed reality headset, which is geared towards competing with laptops/Chromebooks, by 2024. That’s the same year Google is reportedly releasing its first unit, codenamed Project Iris.
If you’ve ever struggled to remember a password, there may be good news for you in the near future. Google has shown off its work on “passkeys” which aim to be a secure replacement for user-managed passwords on Chrome and Android.
Your Android phone will store a “passkey” that’s used to unlock an online account (in Google Chrome). Instead of entering a password to sign into a website or app, you just unlock your mobile device. Passkeys are synced to the cloud (Google Account) and transferred when you get a new phone or if it’s ever lost.
If you’re in the market for a Google TV streamer but have been wary of the Chromecast’s storage woes, you may want to look into the Mecool KD3. As laid out in our review, the dongle is a meaningful upgrade over the Chromecast with Google TV, thanks to its slightly newer chip and easily expandable storage.
[…] Mecool sells the KD3 with an optional “OTG” cable that adds a full-size USB port to the charging cable on KD3. This effectively allows any form of USB storage, such as a cheap flash drive, to act as expanded storage. 8GB is still limiting, but this $1 upgrade will certainly ease that pain quite a bit. By contrast, Google offers no way to expand the Chromecast’s storage, and solutions similar to this tend to be pretty messy with the Chromecast.
The latest Android Auto update, version 7.6, rolled out to customers this week, though the outward facing changes seem to be somewhat minimal. It’s possible more features of the update will steadily become available in the coming days.
While we’re waiting eagerly for Google’s next redesign to Android Auto, version 7.6 does not seem to deliver that overhaul. Rather, this update is likely rolling out to squash bugs with apps, Google Assistant, and other portions of the Android Auto experience. If we had to take a guess, it might also be assisting in the rollout of quick replies, which started showing up for beta users last week.
This week also saw the beginning of the end for the YouTube Go app for low-end phones, set to shut down by the end of the year. Google now believes the main YouTube app has been optimized enough that affordable phones, such as those that would run Android Go, can run that full-fat version.
As such, a dedicated app is no longer needed, especially a Go client that lacked the “ability to comment, post, create content, and use dark theme.” In fact, YouTube Go was last updated in October 2021, so the writing was on the wall. It currently has over 500 million installs.
The rest of this week’s top stories follow:
Apps & Updates |
Chrome / OS |
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