Google announced it is releasing three new pixel phones: Pixel 4A, which is available for preorder now and cost $349; next is pixel 5 with 5G that will be available this fall; and there is the pixel 4A 5G that will also be ready for shipping this fall at the cost of $499.
The company said the new phones will be available in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan and Australia.
Coronavirus crisis has forced Google to push back the release date of pixel 5 and pixel 4A 5G until later in the year.
The new release appears like a way to counter Apple’s iPhone SE with cheaper devices equipped with the 5G capacity. Google has a pattern of introducing cheaper versions of its own Android smartphones midway through the year.
No details of the new phones have been released; Google said it will give updates soon. But Independent reported that the Pixel 4A sacrifices a number of the specifications found in the more expensive, higher-end Pixel 4. Its polycarbonate body means the phone cannot include wireless charging, and includes a fingerprint sensor rahte rthan facial recognition.
But it retains a number of features from the old phone, including the same camera lens technology, with additional storage capacity. It also brings a new design, with the front-facing camera placed in a punched out hole in the top of the screen, rather than the forehead that has become a fixture of recent handsets.
Google said the phones have increased speed designed to “make streaming videos, downloading content and playing games on Stadia or other platforms faster and smoother.”
The competition to produce 5G enabled smartphones is rising as 5G rollout continues. Apple is expected to launch its first 5G iphone models in the fall as part of its 2020 phone release.
Google seems to be wooing consumers with price as indications point that Apple will keep its future phone prices below $1,000.
The Verge noted that the most important aspect of Pixel 4A is the price: $349, which is $50 less than both the base-level iphone SE and last year’s Pixel 3A. Competition in the sub-$500 price is increasing, and both Google and Apple appear to be using it to keep consumers in the operating systems.
Meanwhile, WhatsApp is adding a search feature to enable users to fact-check stories. The outbreak of coronavirus has exposed how social media platforms enable the spread of misinformation, and the instant message app is not an exemption.
Now it is rolling out a feature that will allow people to search for information on Google to ascertain if the messages frequently shared are true.
According to Android police, when a WhatsApp message has been forwarded many times, the app will display a special icon to let users know the message did not originate from the sender.
The app is testing a method to double-check messages suspected to originate from a third party and has been repeatedly shared, by tapping the magnifying glass button in the chat. The feature will upload the message via the user’s default browser without WhatsApp itself reading the content.
The new feature is being launched in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, UK and the US. But it will not label messages to be true or false directly – it will allow users to research the content online to see if it’s true.
Facebook and its subsidiaries have been particularly under intense pressure to curtail the amount of misinformation on its platforms. The social media giant seems to have woken up to the call as more posts on its platform get labeled for fact-checking, and others get removed for being outright lies.
The new WhatsApp fact-checking shows that Facebook is extending the pattern to other social media platforms under its wing.