New OnePlus 6 features, Google’s new Emoji movement, and more news you need to know

Welcome to In Brief, the AndroidGuys tech briefing. Today is Tuesday, October 30, and we’re taking a look at all the tech news you need to know. In this post, we want you to learn about the news the way you want to learn. We’ve embedded a podcast version of all this news below. If you don’t want to listen, you can read just like you normally would.

In today’s edition, we’ll tell you what OnePlus 6T features are now available on the OnePlus 6, how bad things look for Sony Mobile, and a security flaw that Google says isn’t that big of a deal.

We’d love feedback on this post, so please let us know what you think in the comments. If we can improve in some way, we’d love to know!

Open Beta 6 brings new features to the OnePlus 6 ahead of 6T launch

There’s quite a bit of excitement around OnePlus right now. Not only did it just announce its brand new flagship phone, but it also made waves by signing its first carrier agreement in the United States. Yes, if you’re a T-Mobile customer, you can go pick up the OnePlus 6T on Thursday.

But, what if you’re holding onto your current OnePlus 6? The 6T isn’t a massive upgrade so we expect plenty of people to continue rocking their phones for a while. Well, you’re all in for some good news as the brand new OnePlus 6 beta is bringing some brand new features to your phone.

In Open Beta 6, the OnePlus 6 now gains access to new features like Nightscape. Nightscape is a feature that uses computer learning to brighten up darker photos without adding distortion to the photos.

The OnePlus 6 now also has a new gesture system, improved UI for About phone, better options for screenshots, and the November security update. If you’re already enrolled in the beta program, you should see the update soon. If you’re not and would like to sign up, you can head to downloads.oneplus.com and sign up.

Gboard lets you customize emojis

Emojis are an important part of life. Now, that’s a sentence I never thought I’d utter, but its true. People use emojis more and more every day and now Google is giving users of its Gboard keyboard some customization options.

Starting in its newest beta, Gboard allows users to create “Emoji Minis” which are emoji-sized stickers that look like you. Now instead of sending a random winking face, you can send yourself winking. Not creepy at all, right?

Google stated in a recent blog that, “Emoji Minis are designed for those who may have stared into the eyes of emoji and not seen yourself staring back. These sticker versions of the emoji you use every day are customizable so you can make them look just like you.

Your customized emoji can have different colored hair, piercings, hats, head coverings, glasses and more. If you’d like to up your emoji game, head over to the Play Store listing for Gboard, then opt into the beta for the update.

Sony Mobile could be in trouble

Sony Xperia XZ3 1Sony is a well-known name, but its mobile division could be facing some bleak times. The company released its recent financial results and the numbers reveal that Sony only shipped 1.6 devices in the last three months — a record low.

On the back of the results, Sony reduced its full-year shipment expectations to 7 million, a third consecutive downgrade.

So, what’s the cause? It looks like Sony lost its momentum in Europe. The company makes several popular mid-tier devices that it sells in European and Asian markets, but sales are down and it’s not pretty.

Sony recently adopted a new design language that is very “love-it-or-hate-it.” It seems like more potential customers are on the “hate it” train and Sony knows it. The company’s Chief Financial Officer recently stated that “The competition is fierce and our products have not been attractive enough.”

Is the Google Home Hub secure?

Google’s new Home Hub is a cool little gadget. It puts a face to the voice of Google Assistant and displays relevant information. When it’s not displaying the weather, a recipe, or a YouTube video, it can play a slideshow of your Google Photos library. Pretty nifty.

But now security researchers are ringing the bell about the device. One researcher is claiming that the smart display is “beyond dismal”, a harsh rebuke of Google’s efforts. For Google’s part, it’s denying the claims.

Jerry Gamblin, the security researcher causing waves, says he spent a couple nights poking around with the Home Hub. What he found was that the Hub allows full remote unauthenticated control by an undocumented API.

Speaking to Android Authority, Google says the claim about security on the Home Hub is inaccurate. “The APIs mentioned in this claim are used by mobile apps to configure the device and are only accessible when those apps and the Google Home device are on the same WiFi network. Despite what’s been claimed, there is no evidence that user information is at risk.”

Huawei Watch and Watch 2 get an update that brings better performance

The Huawei Watch and Watch 2 are two of the most popular Wear OS watches on the market today. Despite their introduction the better part of three years ago, the watches remain as solid options until a new breed of watches come out later this year and early 2019.

Much to the surprise of everyone, the watches are still being updated. They recently were updated to Wear OS 2.0 which brought a new interface and features. Now, with version 2.17, the watches are getting even more improvements.

The update brings new swipe gestures, the latest Wear OS interface, and Google Assistant and Fit shortcuts. Users are also reporting that performance has received a boost too. We’ll be keeping an eye on this update to see if battery life gets better too, but it’s too early to tell right now.

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