In this week’s top stories: early signs of Gmail’s dark theme appear on Android, the Google Pixel 3a is an Amazon Best Seller, the rebrand of Google Home devices to Google Nest begins, and more.
Gmail for Android dark theme
If you’ve been following the development of Google apps for the last year or so, you’ll likely notice there’s a pattern to their updates. First, Google brings the app up to date with their latest Material Theme cues. Later on, they give that redesign the option for a dark theme.
The latest app to follow this pattern—and one of the most hotly requested dark themes—is Gmail for Android. In the latest version of Gmail, parts of the app’s Settings menus respect the “night mode” or “dark theme” settings found in Android Pie and Android Q.
Visually, it is not usable yet, with black text displayed on a gray background, while the “Settings” title does not appear in the app bar. That bug is also present in “General settings” and account pages, however, the list of options is legible.
Pixel 3a is an Amazon Best Seller
Earlier this year, Google noted to investors that sales for the Pixel 3 didn’t meet their expectations. The tide seems to be shifting for Pixel sales this week, as, according to Amazon, the Google Pixel 3a tops the list of “Best Sellers in Unlocked Cell Phones.”
The Pixel 3a’s Amazon listing is also full of praise from customers. While there are only 50 reviews so far, that’s at an average of 4.3 stars with nearly 75% of reviews being 5-stars. Customers specifically seem to appreciate the value and battery life, alongside the camera (obviously).
From Google Home to Google Nest
With the reveal of the Nest Hub Max, Google announced that the “Google Home” brand would be transitioning to “Google Nest.” This week we saw the first public signs of this Google Nest rebrand occurring.
Our Abner Li spotted at his local Best Buy that, rather than creating new packaging, the Google Home Hub is shipping to stores with a small sticker explaining the rebrand to “Google Nest Hub.” The sticker tries to emphasize that “Help has a new name.”
Later in the week, a reader spotted that a Google Store “Special Offer” referred to the original Google Home speaker as a “Nest Home.” Google may not have been ready to reveal this particular device rebrand however, as the offer was quickly corrected to show “Google Home.”
‘Googler-only’ July OTA
Many Google Pixel 3a owners were treated to the surprise arrival of the July 2019 Android security patch, a few weeks ahead of schedule. What makes the situation more interesting is that the patch was very clearly labeled as being “CONFIDENTIAL INTERNAL ONLY.” Google quickly ceased the roll out to further devices, once the problem was noticed.
This patch appears to include the usual fixes, and shouldn’t be a significant change, with Android Q expected in Q3 2019. The June patch was the first update for Made by Google’s newest phones since it launched in May with a March build of Android 9 Pie.
Next-gen Wear OS Fossil watches
Fossil, creator of some of the best Wear OS watches on the market, had some upcoming news spoiled this week. It was spotted that Fossil had five Wear OS smartwatches pass through the FCC for approval. Among the devices approved, it looks like we’ll soon see new watches from Michael Kors, Diesel, Emporio Armani, and Fossil themselves.
All feature Bluetooth, 2.4GHz WiFi, and NFC, which is in line with last year’s Gen 4 devices. The key unknown for this generation is whether Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 3100 will be present, or if it retains the 2100 processor. The former would be the welcome choice and allows for features like the promised Sports Mode, with RAM (more than 512MB) also a key spec for determining performance.