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Google Chrome for Android preps new bottom-bar tab switcher after killing ‘Duet’

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Google Chrome has a pretty standard UI when it comes to being a browser, but over the past couple of years, it’s toyed with a new design that utilized a bottom bar. “Duet” as it was called has since been killed off, but now Google Chrome has a new bottom-bar UI in mind.

As spotted by Android Police, Chrome v84, currently in beta, finally enables the chrome://flags/#enable-conditional-strip flag. This flag has been visible for a while, but with this latest release, we can finally see what it does.

The answer? Not much…

Like with Duet, this new bottom-bar in Google Chrome for Android puts the tab switcher along the bottom of the screen which enables easy, one-tap access for users. The UI isn’t nearly as capable as Duet was, though, lacking many of the app functions that UI previously offered. It’s entirely possible this is just an early version, though. That seems likely, too, given this design is essentially identical to the Tab Groups UI.

Notably, and strangely, this flag only works for some users. Flags typically show up for everyone, but for reasons unclear, only some users will be able to access this function. My Pixel 4 XL, for example, doesn’t have the function live. We were able to get it working on Canary, though. It may be a server-side change on the beta track, and we’re also thinking it might only work when a certain number of tabs are open.

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Lenovo working on dual-purpose Android tablet and external monitor, ‘Yoga X’

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One feature that Android fans have to be envious of the iPad for is Sidecar, the ability to use your iPad as an external display. It seems the folks at Lenovo are eyeing an interesting way to solve that by making an Android tablet that doubles as an external monitor, the “Yoga X.”

This evening, two different leakers shared information about an upcoming device from Lenovo, reportedly called the “Yoga X.” Evan Blass shared an image on his Patreon depicting a simple illustration of this Yoga X, with a design that suffices it to say odd for a typical Android tablet. At first glance, it looks more like Chromebook folded into presentation mode than an Android tablet.

Fellow leaker Till Kottmann, via XDA-Developers, has provided a bit more context on what this device has in store. According to internal Lenovo documentation uncovered by Kottmann, which references a “second screen UX wireframe,” the Lenovo Yoga X will be able to connect via mini HDMI to another device. In doing so, the Android part of the tablet will lock to secure your data and the Yoga X will act as a display for what you’ve connected — be it a laptop, game console, or phone.

Elsewhere in the internal document, reportedly parts of the tablet’s Android side will still function as normal, including the brightness and volume controls as well as the audio output, should you want to use the Yoga X’s speakers.

Unfortunately, no other details have been discovered, such as specs, display size, or pricing. Given the lack of details and how bold and experimental an idea it would be to turn an Android tablet into an external display, it’s entirely possible this “Lenovo Yoga X” could never reach the market.

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Google surveying Android 11 Beta 2 users about what still needs to be fixed

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Following the latest beta on Wednesday, there is only one more Android 11 release before the public launch later this quarter. Google today released a survey asking testers to chime in on Android 11 Beta 2.

As we did for Beta 1, we’d like your feedback on the latest version of Android 11 on your Pixel device. This anonymous survey should take only a few minutes to complete. This helps us identify improvements or regressions between releases and prioritize key issue areas.

This follows last month’s survey on the initial beta and starts by having users confirm their device and build number. The anonymous survey polls you about “Android Feature/Area Satisfaction” in 10 areas, including Stability, Performance, Messaging, and App Experience.

It then asks whether you’d “recommend [Beta 2] to your friends and family” in its current state. There’s also a question about how “this beta build compare to the previous Android 11 beta build.” The four options are “Better,” “Same,” “Worse,” and “I didn’t try the previous beta build.”

We’d like to understand if you’re noticing improvements or regressions between beta releases.

That leads Google to ask about the “top issue area you experienced” and whether it would make you leave the Android Beta Program. Lastly, there’s an open field to “provide additional feedback on your experience.”

The final part of this survey is an open text field to leave any other comments about Android 11 Beta 2.

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Alphabet Scoop 095: Understanding Pixel 4a, 4a 5G, and Pixel 5… and a Nest speaker

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This week we dive into the Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a (5G), and Pixel 5 following their surfacing in the Google app. In addition to making sense of Google’s 2020 phone lineup, we talk about the upcoming Nest speaker that was just officially teased.

Alphabet Scoop is available on Google Play, Google PodcastsiTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, and through our dedicated RSS feed for Pocket Casts and other podcast players.

New episodes of Alphabet Scoop are recorded every Thursday afternoon at 4-5 PM ET and published on Friday mornings. Subscribe to our podcast in Google Play or your favorite podcast player to guarantee new episodes are delivered as soon as they’re available.

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Drop us a line at [email protected]. You can also soon rate us in Google Play, Google PodcastsApple Podcasts or recommend us in Pocket Casts to help more people discover the show.

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