ZTE cleans up its act: Plans to use Google’s version of Android in its phones

zte chooses google now launcher future android smartphones geek
ZTE has some made a surprising news announcement. It’s to release a smartphone which uses the Google Now Launcher instead of its own custom user interface, which will give the device a Nexus-style look. What’s more, ZTE will be doing the same thing on any future Android 4.4 devices too. ZTE has previously used its own MiFavor user interface in an attempt to stand out, and ironically, by abandoning it, ZTE stands out a little more. It joins a very select few manufacturers – such as Motorola – not using a custom UI over the top of Android.

In addition to the cleaner, simpler, and faster interface, the launcher adds Google Now as a home screen, accessible with a swipe, and lets users use voice commands to control their device. ZTE will also add in its own voice command feature, which has a wider range of functions, specific to the device, to try out.

The company will announce the first phone with the Google Now Launcher installed at an event on July 24. It’s called the Blade Vec 4G, and comes with a Snapdragon 400 processor, Android 4.4 KitKat, and of course, 4G LTE connectivity. On the same day, ZTE will reveal a second, premium device also running Google’s launcher.

Google recently made the Google Now Launcher available through the Google Play store, where it can be installed on selected Android phones, so even if you don’t own a Nexus of Google Play Edition smartphone,  there is a chance you can experience the joy that is stock Android. ZTE’s decision to use the same interface should be welcomed, and could make its devices more popular, particularly as in the past it’s the software which has let the brand down.

We’ll find out all the details on the Blade Vec 4G, and get our first look at the other new phone, on July 24. ZTE’s press release states the new stock Android phones will launch in Europe, China and Hong Kong, but doesn’t mention the U.S. at this stage.

Social Media

Twitter extends its new timeline feature to Android users

Twitter users with an Android device can now quickly switch between an algorithm-generated timeline and one that shows the most recent tweets first. The new feature landed for iPhone users last month.
Mobile

Android Q: Everything we know so far about Google’s next mobile OS

Android Pie recently rolled out, but it's already time to look ahead to Android Q, the next version of Google's mobile OS. We've seen a number of rumors and leaks come out about the operating system -- here's everything we know so far.
Mobile

The Note 8 and S8 range now have access to the Android Pie beta

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Computing

Firefox will disable Flash on its browsers by default in 2019

Mozilla's Firefox browser will continue to do its part in deprecating the Flash plugin this year with new plans revealed to disable it by default in an upcoming Nightly build, followed by a stable release in September.
Mobile

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.
Android

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019: Complete Coverage

There's no bigger show for mobile tech geeks than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: where flagship phones are born and intriguing new wearables shine. And this year, where foldable phones and 5G are likely to dominate the news. For…
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Mobile

C you soon? Rumors swirl of a USB-C port on 2019 iPhones

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.
Mobile

Biometric phone unlocks can’t be forced by feds, says U.S. judge

Fingerprint and face unlocks used to not be protected by the Fifth Amendment, but that may soon change. A judge in California has ruled biometric unlocking methods of all kinds are protected in the same way as passcodes.
Mobile

The Motorola Razr may return as a foldable phone — for $1,500

The Motorola Razr V3 is one of the world's most iconic phones, and it could be making a stylistic return in the form of a foldable Motorola smartphone -- but it may cost around $1,500. Is the nostalgia worth it?
Mobile

The iPhone XS Battery Case's battery has a smaller capacity than previous cases

Apple has been rumored to be working on a new iPhone battery case for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now, those new cases are finally here, offering seven hours of extra use for each iPhone and are available for $129.
Mobile

Join the Apple club with our complete guide to switching from Android to iOS

If Android simply isn’t cutting it for you anymore, then you might be considering Apple’s warm embrace. Here’s how to make the switch from Android to iOS without losing your contacts, sleep, or hair!
Mobile

It’s back! Here’s how to switch to Twitter’s reverse chronological feed

Twitter has finally brought back the reverse chronological feed, allowing you to see your feed based on the newest tweets, rather than using Twitter's algorithm that shows what it thinks you want to see. It's easy to switch.
Mobile

Huawei in for a rough year as feds investigate alleged trade secrets theft

Huawei is also facing issues in the U.S., but it doesn't seem like that will end any time soon. According to a new report, the company is facing a federal investigation in the U.S. for allegedly stealing trade secrets.