This budget smartphone has an amazing camera

From the desk of Rich on Tech

Happy Friday!

Here are the highlights of the tech stuff I covered this week!

Before we get to that, just want to give a big shoutout to all the Moms on this Mother’s Day weekend. I have a ton of respect for my Mom, who raised 5 of us kids… and of course, my wife, who is an amazing Mom to our two boys, and my sisters, and Mother in Law, and sister in law… the list goes on.

Now, let’s get to some of the things I think you should know about.

Google I/O

Google held its annual developer’s event this week in Mountain View. It’s where they talk about all the stuff coming down the pipeline. I always look forward to going to this event - it’s like a big nerd carnival (in a very good way). The keynote was focused on how Google is trying to be better at privacy, then say, Facebook, and still deliver relevant information and help to users around the world.

Watch my top level overview of the big announcements, as seen on KTLA.

Check out my experience at Google I/O 2019, in pictures, here!

And the award for the Best New Budget Smartphone goes to… the Pixel 3a!

Google also introduced what is probably the best new budget smartphone. It’s a $399 version of their Pixel, which is known for having an amazing camera. This one packs the same main camera so it has become the new budget phone to beat.

It’s also available at all the major carriers (minus AT&T, but if you buy it from Google or unlocked at Best Buy, it will still work with AT&T).

So what don’t you get? A premium glass back, water resistance, wireless charging or the latest and fastest processor. All things you can live without since you are saving a few hundred dollars over a flagship.

Google adds a camera to the Home Hub

Google announced another new product at I/O. This one is called the Google Nest Hub Max. Think big screen Google Home Hub combined with a Nest Security Camera.

It will let you video chat, check in on your home remotely via video, recognize your face to show you personalized notifications and handle all the typical assistant commands. My favorite part: how it shows an ever changing collection of pictures from your Google Photos collection.

The Google Nest Hub Max will sell for $229 when it launches later this summer.

Bad photo app

Speaking of pictures, if you’re using the app Ever to store your photos in the cloud, you might want to reconsider. According to an NBC News article, they’re been using your pictures to train their AI algorithms.

I get it, there are a lot of ways companies are using your data when you sign up for free products, but this seems not so nice. The company says the language was in the terms and conditions, but who reads those?

Just remember, when you’re getting something for free, you and your data are what they get in exchange.

Suite hotel website

We did a fun segment with a useful website called Suiteness. Basically, it helps you book connecting hotel rooms for group or family travel. But the twist is that one of those rooms is a cool suite, along with a “regular” room attached to it.

And yes, they have the crazy “Hangover” suites, but they also have rooms at places like Embassy Suites, too. This is fantastic for families because Mom and Dad can actually enjoy a little conversation after the kids go to sleep and not feel like any little noise is going to wake them up.

Disable Siri listening instantly

Here’s a quick tip if you use an iPhone. If you don’t want Siri listening for the hot words “Hey, Siri,” you can temporarily disable the feature just by flipping your phone over.

Keep in mind, my book, 101 Handy Tech Tips for the iPhone, is packed with fun stuff like this.

Android Auto is getting a major makeover

I have a love/hate relationship with Android Auto. It’s amazingly accurate for Maps and the voice commands you can use with it are great, but the layout is frustrating. Switching to a new audio app takes way too many taps and I’m always tapping back and forth to go between my music screen and my maps screen.

Google heard my cries and they are updating Android Auto with a fresh new look and feel that works way better.

One thing that’s going away: the standalone Android Auto app. Soon, you’ll just say “Hey Google, Let’s Drive” and you’ll get a drive optimized screen on your phone - no extra software required.

Listen to my podcast!

My podcast is sort of like this newsletter: filled with the stuff I think you should know about happening in the tech world. I also answer your questions! So join myself and Producer Meghan for a fun little show each week that makes your commute go by faster and as a bonus you’ll feel smarter about what’s happening in the tech world.

Want to submit a question? Just send it to with the subject “Podcast Question"

You can listen free on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts!

So, this is what the cloud looks like

That’s all, folks!

Have a fantastic weekend, and if you’re not already following me on YouTube, consider subscribing to me there. I’m going to post more stuff there! Of course, feel free to find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook too.