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This week’s top stories: Pixel 4a survey, Google app dark mode, Play Music transfers, more

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In this week’s top stories: a new survey strongly hints at the Google Pixel 4a and Pixel 5, dark mode for the Google app on Android 10+ and iOS becomes official, Google opens early access transfers from Play Music and YouTube Music, and more.

As we’re now past the originally predicted launch window of the Pixel 4a, details of the phone continue to leak out through various channels. The latest leak seems to come from Google Opinion Rewards, where at least one person got a survey giving rough details on two Pixel phones that match what we know of the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 and asks which one they would buy.

Of course, what’s particularly eye-catching [about the “premium” phone] is the $699 price, which is $100 cheaper than the Pixel 4 today. In a market where phones are nearing $1,000, Google would be bucking that trend. As we reported, the company looks to not be using the flagship Snapdragon 865 processor this year. Google could also get the price down by cutting more experimental features, as we also heard

For some time now, those of us willing to use the Beta version of the Google app for Android and iOS have had access to dark mode in that app. This week, Google has made its dark mode official on Android 10 and iOS devices, allowing it to be used in the “stable” version of the app.

Google isn’t actually rolling out dark mode to older Android versions yet. Clarified in a forum post, Google explains that the ongoing rollout right now is only for Android 10+ and iOS 12/13. For now, you’ll still have to enroll in the beta to get your hands on dark mode on older versions of Android. Shame.

Last week, Google finally announced its plans to put Play Music out to pasture and let YouTube Music be its sole music service, coinciding with the announcement of transferring libraries between Play Music and YouTube Music. This week, that transfer tool is entering an early access phase, during which folks can fill out a form to request access.

At launch, Google said that the transfer tool will take a few weeks to become available for all users. However, you can now request early access through this form by entering the email “associated with your Google Play Music Account” and what country you’re in. [Update: The country issue has been fixed.]

As usual, OnePlus has been busy rolling out new beta builds for their devices, this week bringing Open Beta 4 and Open Beta 14 with the May 2020 security patch for OnePlus 7 and 7T devices. However, due to issues that the company did not publicly share, OnePlus quickly removed both of these updates.

As you’d expect, the latest beta updates were announced over on the official OnePlus forums in a duo of posts. It brings a number of core fixes and tweaks for the early-2019 OnePlus 7 series devices including fixes for the disappearing contacts in the address book, adds more clock style options for the ambient display, plus the May 2020 security patch.

Lastly, our Ben Schoon was able to spend some time with and share his thoughts on a pair of Motorola phones, specifically the Moto G Power and Moto G Stylus. Each of these budget phones brings something unique to the market, but it’s hard to say whether or not either of them could be right for you.

Motorola’s Moto G series is the company’s most popular smartphone lineup and, really, that’s for good reason. A few years ago, any “budget” smartphone was pretty awful, but Motorola fixed that by making smart choices in its cuts and delivering a software experience that was nothing short of excellent. Now, in 2020, Motorola has ditched the numbers and delivered the Moto G Stylus and Moto G Power. Are they worth your attention? I’ve spent a few days trying to answer that question.

The rest of this week’s top stories follow:

Android |

Apps & Updates |

Chrome / OS |

Google Doodle |

Google Assistant |

Google Pixel |

Samsung |

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Google app tests compact weather bubble on Android

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After several years of evolution, Google Discover has firmly settled into a feed of news and articles that are tailored to your interests. Cards for sports and weather still exists, with the latter on Android seeing a redesign today in the form of a bubble.

The latest Google app beta this evening swaps out the weather card under the Search field for a pill-shaped bubble in the top-left corner of the screen. Opposite the account switcher, this oval simply features the current weather condition as an icon and temperature. Tapping performs a standard “weather” lookup.

It’s quite a clean design, but you lose the day’s high/low, precipitation chance, and your current location. Then again, you likely have a multitude of ways to see the temperature on your phone. Google’s methods include the Discover feed to the left of the homescreen and Assistant’s new Snapshots feed, which features a nicer looking card and hourly forecast.

In the Google app removing it’s built-in weather card, Discover is moving ever closer to just a feed dedicated to personalized stories. Sports will likely remain there as those recap cards are an opportunity to surface game-related content.

This weather bubble is already found on the Google app for iOS. On Android, it’s appearing naturally on a OnePlus device running the latest Search beta (version 11.11). None of our Pixel phones have the new compact pill.

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Dylan Roussel contributed to this article

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Latest Google Pixel Buds firmware update rolling out

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The second-generation Pixel Buds went on sale in late April and tomorrow marks their one-month anniversary. They have been well-received with no real outstanding issues. Google is now rolling out the latest firmware update for the 2020 Pixel Buds.

Out of the box, the Pixel Buds received a day one update from firmware version 195 to 225. As of this afternoon, 295 is rolling out for both earbuds and the case.

If you open “Device details” or the Pixel Buds app > “More settings” > “Firmware update,” there’s an “Update available” message. All users are seeing the update, with no tiered rollout.

Those with “Automatic updates” enabled will have the new firmware installed in the background. If it’s turned off, a “notification will appear on your device when an update is available.” In the latter scenario, you’ll have to re-enable the auto option to install.

If you’ve paired your Pixel Buds with a Pixel phone with Android 10+, or a compatible Android device with the Pixel Bud app and an internet connection, firmware updates should be automatically downloaded in the background and installed when the earbuds are in the case.

No release notes for 295 are currently available. Compared to the first-generation Pixel Buds, the 2020 model does not have a dedicated page detailing what’s new. These updates presumably deliver bug fixes and other usability patches, while major updates will likely be detailed in blog posts.

Google promised Feature Drops for Pixel Buds, with Find My Device capabilities not yet available, while we spotted work on “attention alerts” that detect crying and barking.

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Switzerland first to release COVID-19 app using Apple and Google Exposure Notification API

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The first app to take advantage of the Apple and Google Exposure Notification API has been released in Switzerland, according to a new report from the BBC. The app is called “SwissCovid” and is currently available to select essential workers.

As of right, members of the Swiss outlook as well as hospital workers and civil servants can install the SwissCovid app. A wider rollout is planned, but the report explains that in Switzerland, members of parliament must approve the app before it is widely released.

In Switzerland’s case, MPs must first debate and approve the scheme before it is offered to the general public. The government hopes this can be done by mid-June.

In Latvia, developers hope to release their Exposure Notification API to everyone by as soon as Thursday because a parliamentary vote is not required. The report says that Apple has already approved the app to appear in the App Store:

By contrast, the Latvian team – which has also incorporated the API – is able to proceed without a parliamentary vote, and hopes to offer its Apturi Covid app to the public as soon as Thursday.

A spokeswoman told the BBC that Apple had already approved the software to appear on its App Store, but the developers were still waiting for permission to list it on the Google Play marketplace. “Of course we would be very happy to be the first (national launch), but the most important thing is to help our inhabitants fights the virus,” she added.

When iOS 13.5 was released to the public last week, Apple said that a handful of U.S. states and 22 countries across five continents had requested and received access to the Exposure Notification API. We’re tracking the rollout in the United States in detail right here.

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