This week has seen a big event in the lives of all mobile gamers in general and Fortnite in particular. The game has finally arrived on Google Play. Just what preceded it and what prevented them from doing it earlier? The developer had a reason, which we'll talk about. And this week, Google released an update to one of its important services, which are used by many millions of people around the world. And, of course, it was not without news from the world of Samsung. All the most interesting things that happened this week, we will traditionally tell in our weekly news digest.
Updating Google services is always fun.
Galaxy S20 in Russia can already be bought for almost 20 thousand rubles cheaper
One of the main mistakes that, in my opinion, Samsung made this year, was the refusal to develop the lineup of conditionally available flagships. Many users hoped the Galaxy S20e would be as inexpensive as iPhone 11, but much more attractive in terms of functionality. However, the Koreans, for some unknown reason, decided that the affordable devices would erode the value of their technological breakthroughs, and therefore took and quickly closed the shop, focusing only on expensive models. But the market will always take its toll.
Galaxy S20 is no longer as expensive as at the start of sales
Despite the fact that only about two months have passed since the start of sales of the Galaxy S20, the price of new items in Russian retail has already dropped by almost 20 thousand rubles from the initial indicators. Now the most affordable offer, according to Yandex.Market, starts at 53 thousand rubles against 70 thousand rubles in official retail. It turns out that the Galaxy S20 has lost almost a quarter of its value in price, or about 25%. This is a rather tangible drop, which practically no one expected in the current market conditions.
Galaxy S20 has dropped in price by 25% in almost 2 months. And what will happen next?
Yes, the price decline occurred only in gray retail, since devices imported into the country through official supply channels are still sold for 70 thousand rubles. But the changes that have taken place are all the more indicative, since since the appearance of the new Samsung flagship in Russia, the ruble against the euro has fallen by more than 20%, not to mention the limitation of gray supplies, since smartphones are bought in quarantine abroad, from where they were usually transported , has become almost impossible.
Of course, gray retail is not the same as official. In the end, there are much more chances to run into a used device or a fake, and the service of the servo trucks, as a rule, is not as good as the large retail chains. But, on the other hand, if you take a responsible approach to the purchase issue and study not only the product, but also the seller himself, you can save a lot. After all, in fact, it makes no difference to the consumer whether the seller paid the tax for the smartphone or not.
Can't understand why there are such cheap smartphones in gray retail? It's all about tax refunds
And this is exactly how serovo trucks maintain low prices for their products. They simply buy equipment abroad – most often in Europe – and then simply refund sales tax through the Tax Free program. This is a completely official practice, which allows a foreigner to return up to 20% of the retail price of the product when leaving the country where the purchase was made. In the case of smartphones, especially flagship smartphones, the difference is quite noticeable. As a result, the price in gray retail in Russia for such devices will be much lower than that of the officials.
But what does all this have to do with the lack of a conditionally affordable flagship in the Samsung lineup? And such that thanks to the Galaxy S20 servo carriers, which is considered quite an expensive smartphone, it became possible to buy at the price of the Galaxy S10e. Remember, last year's 'state employee' went on sale for 52,990 rubles. The Galaxy S20 costs exactly the same today, but at the same time offers, unlike a more attractive appearance, a more advanced set of characteristics, and, what is there, an additional year of software support.
Google released Android 11 Developer Preview 3. What has changed
Android 11 Developer Preview 3 Now Available For Download
This week, Google released Android 11 Developer Preview 3. This is the third test update of five, targeted exclusively for developers and prior to the launch of the public beta program. At this stage, Google is still working on new functions and interfaces of the operating system and has not yet moved on to debugging and 'polishing', which consists of carrying out work to optimize and improve performance. Therefore, each next build Android Developer Preview is interesting because it invariably contains a lot of innovations. The third version is no exception.
Google Pay now supports the SafetyNet security toolkit, which scans the device for all kinds of threats or dangerous changes. It checks to see if the user has made any changes to the operating system that undermine the protection mechanisms.
Android 11 Developer Preview 3 Now Available For Download
In the event that SafetyNet finds any discrepancies with the default software, Google Pay will be blocked and you will not be able to pay for purchases either offline or online. Perhaps this is a temporary feature that will disappear in the release build Android 11, but if Google decides to leave it, all custom firmware could be under attack.
While the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL don't support reverse charging, the Pixel 5 is likely to have it. This is indicated by an animation instruction for using this function, which appeared in Android 11 Developer Preview 3. Obviously, Google has long wanted to integrate this charging mechanism into its smartphones, but for some reason it was not forced to do.
Android 11 will now natively support reverse charging
Chances are, with the development of the Pixel 4, which came out last year, the company was unable to cope with too much collateral wasted energy, like Apple. Towards the end of the year, however, the search giant's developers should complete the necessary work and release the Pixel 5 with reverse charging. However, it is possible that this is just a system animation that will be available to all smartphones with this function.
Probably, many users Android have at least once encountered the Sberbank antivirus. He can analyze the device for several minutes for all kinds of threats or spyware, and all this time a corresponding notification will hang in the notification curtain, which cannot be closed.
Enraged by unclosed notifications? There will be no more of them in Android 11
Obviously, Sberbank is not the only application that annoys users with non-removable notifications, and therefore in Android 11, Google developers decided to change the mechanism for sending notifications, allowing them to close all without exception, without disrupting background processes like scanning for viruses.
Android 10 already has an app uninstall cancellation feature that has helped many of us a lot. Well, you know, it happens that you freak out, delete the program, and then you regret it. So it was always strange for me that Android does not allow you to cancel the unloading of the application from multitasking.
Close the app by accident? Cancel closing
Apparently, the Google developers heard me and finally added an Undo button to accidentally closed programs in Android 11. If the unloading was done by swiping from the bottom up, then the application is returned to the multitasking menu by swiping from top to bottom. True, how this will be implemented in third-party shells is not yet very clear.
In the past year, the gesture control system in Android has undergone major changes, becoming much more convenient than before. However, I still could not use it due to the fact that the OS often misinterpreted the swipes, confusing the back and side menu gestures in Google branded applications.
Not satisfied with gestures? Just customize them
However, in Android 11 it became possible to adjust the sensitivity for each gesture separately. That is, now I can configure the strength of the swipe so that the system no longer takes one after the other. This will undoubtedly make the control Android more convenient.
Android 11 has a new interface for editing screenshots. Now, when you take a screenshot, its thumbnail will appear in the lower left corner, and next to it – the keys for navigating to the desired options. As a result, you can either quickly close this screenshot, or immediately open the desired editing options, or share it.
Screenshot editing – right from your desktop
In fact, by doing so, Google has saved users at least one action regardless of what they want to do. After all, if earlier it was required to first open the screenshot itself, and only then select the necessary editing tools or the recipient when sending, now this can be done immediately. What Google decided to do is really convenient and saves time, albeit not very much.
Google releases major update to its Duo video calling service
Google Duo received a landmark update that will make it better
Some time ago I said that I very successfully replaced FaceTime with Google's video calling service – Duo. I liked literally everything about it – from cross-platform and the ability to use it on different devices, regardless of brand and operating system, to built-in algorithms that allow, firstly, to keep the speaker's face strictly in the center of the frame, and, secondly, provide high quality pictures. However, Google decided that this was not enough to conquer the market and released a major update to Duo.
The inability to hold real meetings due to the coronavirus pandemic has made video conferencing tools especially popular, including Duo. But since Google's proprietary service until recently had strict restrictions on the number of participants who can simultaneously participate in a conversation, it was not very popular for conducting massive online negotiations. Therefore, Google decided to increase the possible number of participants in the conversation from 8 to 12.
Duo video calls can now be used as video conferencing
Previously, Duo users did not have a built-in function for taking screenshots. So they just had to take screenshots and then manually cut the image. It was not very convenient, since not only the service interface was captured, but also all the accompanying elements of the operating system, control buttons, and much more. But since many, as it turned out, conduct work video conferences through Duo and from time to time need the ability to take a picture, Google added a special button to the application interface to capture what is happening on the screen.
Personally, I never had any complaints about the image quality in Duo, but Google felt that there was no limit to perfection. Therefore, to improve the 'quality and stability of the video call', it was decided to switch to the AV1 codec. The same codec is used in YouTube and Netflix, due to which it is possible to provide 30% better performance when transferring pictures at low signal levels compared to baseline. In direct comparison, the difference will be noticeable to the naked eye.
On the left – as it will become, on the right – as it was
The sound in Duo will also undergo certain changes. According to Google developers, support for new algorithms will appear in the mobile application of the service, which will, firstly, prevent the sound from interrupting when the connection is unstable, and, secondly, if this turns out to be impossible, simply fill in the blanks automatically. Most likely, the artificial intelligence that will form the basis of these algorithms will simply analyze what users say and, in the event of a sound skip, will insert what, in their opinion, should have sounded.
Despite the fact that all the innovations were presented by Google at once, their distribution will be carried out gradually. According to the confirmed information, the first users will begin to receive updates this week, but they will get to most of them within two to three weeks. Google plans in this way to ensure the stability of innovations before deploying them to the general public. First of all, the increase in the number of users in the video conference and the button to create a screenshot will be presented, and then the new video codec and algorithms for sound replacement.
Fortnite has appeared on Google Play
As soon as we talked about the best games for smartphones and cite Fortnite as an example, what has come that everyone has been waiting for. Finally, Epic Games was able to negotiate with Google and release its famous Fortnite action movie on Google Play. Now the game can be downloaded officially and there is no need to suffer with installation. This will no doubt be good news for fans. On the other hand, they already have the game. So who will benefit from this? Epic Games, Google, someone else? In fact, it is beneficial to everyone, but why did it happen so late, when the popularity of the game gradually began to decline?
One of the most popular smartphone games in history.
In the early days, Fortnite was only released for iOS. Many were waiting for the appearance of the game on Google Play, but this did not happen. The company later announced that it would not release such a version and would limit itself to distributing the installation file on its website.
This is due to the fact that the company did not want to pay 30 percent of Google's internal purchases, given that in the first two weeks of the game's presence in the AppStore, the company earned $ 15 million. In this case, a third of the income already begins to seem like something really impressive.
There was no other choice for iOS and games can be distributed there only through the AppStore. But in the case of Android the situation is different. Any application can be downloaded as an installation file and no one will pay Google royalties. Our Alexander Bogdanov told how to do it. Given the monetary loss to Google, it's no surprise the company wants to move away from this practice. Developers understand that 30 percent for payment processing is a lot. Here's the answer to why Fortnite wasn't on Google Play.
The presence of the game for Google Play will reduce the installation via APK to almost zero. That is, it is not necessary to say that Epic Games plans to continue distributing the game through the site. So they somehow made an agreement with Google.
Previously, you could only play this way by installing the game from the studio's website.
Of course, the presence of the game in the official store will increase the number of downloads, but personally I doubt that the growth will be proportional to the amount of royalties. After all, this game is played by active users who already know how to install applications without Google Play.
It has been 18 months since the release of this free game, from which the studio earns through in-game purchases. During this time, the level of its popularity has leveled off a bit and it has become easier to negotiate with its developers. And it became easier for the studio itself to agree to royalties when they already made a lot of money.
But perhaps the most important factor was that Google did not directly ban the installation of third-party applications, but actively explains to users that this is very dangerous.
“Google is putting download software outside of Google Play at a disadvantage with technical and business measures like scary security pop-ups for downloaded and updated software. The notifications characterize third-party software sources as malware. Google is also taking steps to block non-Google Play apps. Because of this, we launched Fortnite for Android on the Google Play Store, 'an Epic Games spokesperson said in a statement.
Of course, there really is a danger of installing applications via installation files. Even if you do not install everything in a row, attackers can still slip you a malicious file with the desired name under the guise of the required software.
Installing third-party games can be dangerous, you have to be careful
In part in this respect, Google is doing the right thing when it prevents users from betting everything. But the moderation of Google Play is at such a level that not a week goes by without a Trojan or other malicious application being found there.
Of course, installing applications from the branded store is good and convenient, but there are still disadvantages. Now Epic Games is unhappy that it had to back down. She expresses the hope that Google will treat its partners better and stop putting a spoke in their wheels.
If you love Fortnite, there is always something to share about this game. If you want to express your opinion or ask for advice, do it in our special Telegram chat.
'We hope that Google will revise its policies and business relationships in the near future so that all developers can communicate freely with customers on Android and the Play Store and engage in trade through open services, including payment services that can compete on a level playing field, '' Epic Game said in a statement.
Google has not given official comments on this yet. On the other hand, what can she say if such a system worked for many years and everyone tacitly agreed with the rules of the game? Most likely, Epic Games will put up with what is happening and will deduct its interest. After all, they don't resent the action Apple. There is simply no choice and that's it.