About Manuel Vonau
Manuel Vonau is Android Police's Google Editor, with expertise in Android, Chrome, and other Google products — the very core of Android Police’s content. He has been covering tech news and reviewing devices since joining Android Police as a news writer in 2019. He lives in Berlin, Germany.
Manuel studied Media and Culture studies in Düsseldorf, finishing his university career with a master's thesis titled "The Aesthetics of Tech YouTube Channels: Production of Proximity and Authenticity." His background gives him a unique perspective on the ever-evolving world of technology and its implications on society. He isn't shy to dig into technical backgrounds and the nitty-gritty developer details, either.
Manuel's first steps into the Android world were plagued by issues. After his HTC One S refused to connect to mobile internet despite three warranty repairs, he quickly switched to a Nexus 4, which he considers his true first Android phone. Since then, he has mostly been faithful to the Google phone lineup, though these days, he is also carrying an iPhone in addition to his Pixel phone. This helps him gain perspective on the mobile industry at large and gives him multiple points of reference in his coverage.
Outside of work, Manuel enjoys a good film or TV show, loves to travel, and you will find him roaming one of Berlin's many museums, cafés, cinemas, and restaurants occasionally.
Showing up in more places and carrying different shortcuts
The Google Play Store has been through various redesigns over the years, with the most recent one turning most interface elements blue rather than green, likely in preparation of full Material You support. That’s not the only thing Google is working on, as new variations of the Play Store’s bottom bar have been spotted.
Amazon has removed payment functions in its Android apps, but there are ways to work around that
Before May 2022, picking up the latest movies, captivating e-books, and exciting music on Amazon was as easy as grabbing a new pair of shoes or a comforter set. The digital and physical shopping worlds blended seamlessly. However, you'll notice that things have since changed. While everyday items that need a delivery truck are still just a click away in Amazon's apps, buying digital content requires a little extra work. Here's your roadmap to help you purchase Amazon's digital content on your Android device.
The Pixel Fold’s back reminds me of the good old days of my Pixel 3
The Google Pixel Fold is a product I'm reluctant to recommend, but it still gets a few key things right — I made as much clear in my ode to the Pixel Fold's way of handling screen rotation. While I wish that the Pixel Fold's screen rotation behavior could come to other manufacturers' foldables, the Pixel Fold has another quality that I wish some other phones and products would get — specifically, other Pixel phones. I'm talking about the Pixel Fold's silky smooth frosted glass back.
Taking on Google by offering third parties cheaper access to data for their projects
Google Maps is pretty much the mapping service to use if you want mostly reliable navigation and location data anywhere in the world, and the same is true for developers who need to integrate maps into their apps. Google is the only viable commercial option for many, and it’s become prohibitively expensive to license the data. That’s where the Linux Foundation-backed Overture Maps comes in, which wants to present itself as a viable alternative to Google Maps for developers.
The budget flagship Samsung Galaxy S23 FE is imminent
The hotly anticipated Samsung Unpacked event has come and gone, and for the most part, there weren't any true surprises. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 are the most iterative updates to the company's foldable lineup in a long time, and we already knew that new tablets and watches were coming thanks to extensive leaks. However, there is one more device many people are waiting for this year, and that's the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE, which would be the company's latest budget flagship phone. It might be closer than you should think at this point.
The two foldables share the same idea but differ vastly in execution
After years of rumors, the Google Pixel Fold was finally released in summer 2023, and now, its most important competitor is out, too: the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5. The two foldables are going head-to-head in the US market, offering much of the same book-folding form factor with two very different approaches to the idea. The Pixel Fold is a first-generation device while the Z Fold 5 only offers choice improvements over its predecessor. So the question is: Now that we finally have some options in the US when it comes to book-style foldables, which one should you get?
With more competition than ever, Samsung's most iterative Fold meets a slightly improved Flip
Samsung is without a doubt the brand to popularize folding phones. It pioneered the market with its ill-fated Galaxy Fold that was plagued by durability issues, only to rise from the ashes as a vastly improved second version, complete with the first Z Flip coming a little later.
A Texas jury ordered the company to pay more than $300 million in damages while Google wants to appeal the decision
Google got into a lengthy legal dispute with Sonos over its smart speakers and their audio casting capabilities, with the audio company winning a $32.5 million trial against the California behemoth. This isn’t the only trouble Google is in for its casting endeavors, though. A Texas jury has decided that the company violated patents with its Chromecast’s video streaming capabilities, and is supposed to pay $338.7 million in damages.
The company left Street View footage languishing for more than a decade
Google Maps revolutionized how we view the world when it introduced Street View in 2007, spreading throughout the world in subsequent years. However, the service wasn’t met with open arms everywhere in the world. One of the countries to shun the service early on was Germany, where privacy outcries and lawsuits led to Google halt the Street View rollout in 2011 after only covering about 20 big cities, shortly after it was launched in the country. Fast-forward to 2023, and the company is finally returning to the European country, allowing tourists and residents to explore sights and neighborhoods with up-to-date imagery.
The Galaxy S23 FE and the S24 series might come with Exynos chips again
The Samsung Unpacked event is right around the corner, and we almost know everything there is to know about what devices will be released and what they will pack thanks to extensive leaks. It’s clear that Samsung is looking further ahead already, likely developing the next generation of phones and foldables at this very moment. According to a new report, the next-generation Galaxy flagship phones might not be good news for everyone, as Samsung could switch back to its Exynos chips in Europe and other regions.
As threatened on the weekend, Twitter’s new logo and brand identity are going live
Twitter is all but disappearing as a brand. Twitter owner Elon Musk went through with his promise from this weekend to rebrand the platform to X, with x.com currently redirecting to twitter.com. The website now features a new X logo that was first posted by @SawyerMerritt, who previously offered the logo of his discontinued podcast to the company.
Google's foldable treats the outer and inner screens separately
The Google Pixel Fold may not quite measure up to Samsung's fourth-generation foldable when it comes to hardware durability and build quality, but to be fair, that sort of thing has never been Google's strongest suit. Instead, the Pixel Fold's appeal lies in its approach to software, include an assortment of smart features that mostly stay out of the way, but that can make a real difference when using the handset. One highlight is the way Google implements auto-rotation across the Pixel Fold's internal and external screen, which I would like to highlight today.
A central hub for all the things that have changed in Chrome
Google Chrome is probably the browser everyone is using. When it launched back in 2008, it was lauded as a super-small, resource-saving program that wasn't even feature-complete, but that has long changed. After its long and winding march to market domination, the browser received more features, grew in size, and is now known as an absolute resource hog and data collection engine.
Google is making it easier to take screenshots in incognito all without sacrificing your privacy
Google just released Chrome 115 in stable, and that means a slot in the beta program is free. That’s where Chrome 116 Beta comes in, and it is packed with some interesting updates setting it apart from smaller other Chrome releases. It’s slated to go stable as early as August 9, when it will roll out gradually for a few users until it comes to a wider rollout a week later. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
The co-founder of the company is taking a more active role again
Google’s founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have long taken a hands-off approach to their company, even though they are still in full control over it thanks to their voting power. While Larry Page seems to stick to this, Sergey Brin is reportedly showing up at Google much more often recently, with him helping the company to advance in its AI endeavors like ChatGPT competitor Google Bard.
Google is sending an email to those with cheaper plans to give the bad news
Google raised prices for YouTube Premium and YouTube Music this week, now asking for $14 and $11 per month, $2 and $1 more, respectively. People immediately wondered if this increase would also affect grandfathered YouTube Red accounts, which have been paying a lower rate since the company rebranded the service to YouTube Premium in 2018. Thanks to an email sent to one such account holder, Android Police can confirm that the new price is coming to those users, too.
The Privacy Sandbox’s relevance and measurement APIs are going stable in Chrome 115
Third-party cookies are a privacy nightmare, making it possible for advertisers and bad actors to sniff through big chunks of your browsing history, all in the name of providing more relevant ads. While third-party cookies provide some benefits to websites and users, the consensus is that we need alternatives that are easier to reign in, control, and understand. Google has been pushing its Privacy Sandbox as an alternative to third-party cookies for years, and now, a few more features from said sandbox are shipping in the latest version of Chrome, 115.
New chips might come to the Play Store that will let you filter details and reviews by device type
Android started out as a mobile OS for phones, but it has quickly expanded to run on more form factors. These days, you can use Android apps on the best tablets out there, TVs, watches, laptops and computers, foldables, and of course phones. The Google Play Store accommodates for all these form factors, but it also means that shopping for new apps on a different device may sometimes not show you the full picture of what expects you on one of your other handsets. That’s where new filtering chips for app listings might come in handy.
You’ll get a persistent banner at the top of the app’s home screen if you don’t
Google Photos is a great service. It was the first to truly make it easy to find images in your library and offered a straight-forward way to walk down the memory lane. Google has started monetizing its excellent tool more aggressively in recent years with a prominent printing service link, no more free storage, and exclusive Google One and Pixel features. The company has added one more way to pester you to turn on certain features: A persistent banner at the top of the Photos home page.
You could view images and videos shared via Hangouts in Album Archive, among other files
A few weeks ago, Google sent a scary-sounding email to some of its account holders. The company warned that its “Album Archive” would be discontinued soon, and that you would have to back up any data from it that you want to retain. Reading on in the mail, it becomes clear that this mostly only affects some images and videos you’ve sent via Google’s defunct messaging service Hangouts, and doesn’t have anything to do with Google Photos. The July 19 shutdown date has now arrived, so if you want to see what data you’ve got in your Album Archive and if you’d like to export it, now is your last chance.