Xiaomi’s Mi Robot vacuum finally has an English language pack

Xiaomi's Mi Robot gets much-needed functionality with recent update.

One of the main drawbacks of Xiaomi's Mi Robot vacuum cleaner was that the user interface was limited to Mandarin. The robot vacuum is sold exclusively in China, and those looking to import it had to rely on Google Translate to decipher the menu options. Thankfully, an update rolling out to the Mi Robot includes an English language pack, making it easier for you to see the vacuum's options and set cleaning schedules.

You'll be able to install the English language pack by navigating to the Mi Robot's settings within the Mi Home app. Once in settings, head to Voice pack, and select the one that says English female voice at the bottom of the list.

Once you have the language pack installed, you'll be able to see the options for cleaning and docking the robot vacuum, and you'll be able to monitor the cleaning time and area covered while the vacuum is active. It's certainly a nifty addition, and one that makes the Mi Robot much more useful outside of China.

Xiaomi Mi Robot review

For now, the Mi Robot is limited to China, but Xiaomi is likely to bring the vacuum cleaner to India at some point this year considering it demoed the product at various launch events over the last six months. If you're looking to pick one up outside of Asia, you'll have to resort to resellers like GearBest.

See at GearBest

It’s still difficult to just buy a Google Pixel today, and that’s insane

For all of its great successes in the Pixel, Google still has one critical flaw to figure out.

April 20 marked the six-month anniversary of the Google Pixel going on sale in the Play Store. As was typical for a Google phone launch, they were tough to get ahold of — backorders reached weeks or even months, depending on what model you wanted. Now, six months later, Google inexplicably still can't keep Pixels in stock. Just head to the Play Store right now and see that most configuration combinations aren't available.

Even the models that you can click "buy" on — like a black 32GB Pixel or silver 128GB Pixel XL — won't ship for two to four weeks. Once again, this is a phone that has been on sale for six months and not once in the past 180+ days has the stock situation been any better. How is it that Google can get this so wrong? Part of it is expectations, but the blame mostly lies on Google's apparent inability to control its supply chain.

When it's tough to get a phone, you can always take the positive view that it is simply so popular that the company can't make enough. But let's not kid ourselves — you'd have to see a Pixel in every other person's hand on the street to believe that demand was high enough that it legitimately outpaced any company's ability to make the phones. The retail channel limitation of only being able to buy from the Google Store or Verizon — rather than seeding to the likes of Amazon and Best Buy — is alone enough to cut back on supply pressure. So really, the issue is how Google set expectations of the Pixel's availability, only to drastically underdeliver.

After years of Nexus devices with a variety of go-to-market strategies, the Pixels are clearly designed and advertised as phones for everyone in the market for a top-end phone. The way the phones were made, paired with huge spending on effective advertising, set the expectation amongst general consumers (read: not just smartphone nerds) that this would be a phone you could actually buy. At the same time, it seems Google internally still has a portion of its hardware team that sees the Pixels the same way as Nexuses of the past: make some phones, sell what we have and don't make it a priority to keep stock levels where they should be for a global product launch. Those two aspects don't mix, and it's a recipe for frustration for those who want to buy a Pixel.

Google led us to believe we could just buy a Pixel, but then it failed to deliver.

But there's a problem: those normal consumers that Google targets with its continuous Pixel ads don't wait around for a phone unless it says "Apple" or "Samsung" on the box. And even then, a significant portion of the buying public wants to walk into a store or visit a website and simply buy the latest phone available today — they don't want to sit around and wait three weeks for a phone to be in stock, then wait another two weeks for it to arrive. They need a phone now, and every time Google can't keep its Pixels in stock it's a lost sale from the exact market it targets.

For all of their flaws, the other Android manufacturers know how to manage a supply chain. Samsung, LG, Huawei, Motorola, HTC and heck, even OnePlus now, know how to make phones available around the world in massive quantities. They have in most cases each made the necessary deals and commitments to get the phones in thousands of physical stores as well, a dramatically taller task than simply stocking a couple of warehouses for online-only distribution.

I don't want to belittle the huge commitment of time, money and people required to manage the manufacturing, shipment and distribution of phones. But Google designed a phone for the general consumer and spent tens of millions advertising to that demographic, only to once again completely fail to make the devices available when those people went to buy. At some point, we just have to throw up our hands and wonder why it can't get this right when so many other companies have.

And now, let's cap off the week with a few other thoughts:

  • During my extremely amazing vacation, the rest of the team killed it with Galaxy S8 review coverage.
  • This is just the beginning, of course, as we'll continue to talk about the Galaxy S8 a lot for the next year.
  • I now have my black Galaxy S8 — making a conscious decision to choose the smaller model for ease of use understanding that the battery life takes a hit.
  • The official Twitter app rolled out a change to replace the Moments tab with a Search tab that includes search, topic exploration and Moments. This is a way better interface that makes that tab (which everyone has to see every day) useful for a far wider range of Twitter users.
  • Hard to believe we're only a few weeks away from Google I/O 2017 — it's going to be a blast, as usual.

That's all for now. Have a great week, everyone.

-Andrew

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How to back up your music files to your computer or online storage

How do I transfer music from my Android phone to my computer?

Updated April 2017: This post was updated to make sure it has the best ways to transfer your music from your Android.

If you have all your beloved music on your Android phone, then it's probably a good idea to back it up, especially if you plan on buying a new phone. You can choose to back up your music to a computer or you can back it up to the cloud so that you can access it from virtually any device (pun intended).

We have a few apps that we like to use to make backing up music easier. Here's how to backup your music (just in case).

How to back up your music files to online storage

Backing up your music to the cloud is the first logical step if you want to make sure that if your phone craps out, your music doesn't go down the toilet with it. There are two awesome apps you can use that your music files can follow you wherever you go.

Google Drive

Google Drive is where it's at when it comes to file storage. You get 15GB of free storage space! Depending on file sizes, 15GB is nearly 4,000 songs. Just like Dropbox, Google Drive is ubiquitous; if you have a device with an internet connection, you can access your Google Drive, thanks to the cloud. If you have a Gmail account, then you have Google Drive.

You can listen to the music you upload right in Google Drive or you can download it for offline listening and you bet your sweet patoot that you can share anything and everything via a link to that file or folder, even with non-Google users (the heathens!).

If your Android phone didn't come with Google Drive, it's a free download on the Google Play Store.

To set it up, you just sign in with your Gmail address and password. From there, you just tap the big ol' + button to upload files or folders. To upload music, just choose Audio from the list of options. You can upload as many songs as you'd like (or your 15GB limit will allow). If your Google Drive starts to fill up, just download files to your computer and transfer them to an external hard drive, if that's your fancy.

To access Google Drive on your computer, just hit up drive.google.com and sign in. You'll walked through a simple setup process and then you'll be ready to go. Google Drive is seamless, so you can enjoy your favorite music on just about any device.

Dropbox

A basic Dropbox account is free and comes with 2GB of storage. All you need to sign up is an email address and a pocket full of dreams (pocket full of dreams is optional). Visit Dropbox.com, enter your name, email and a password and you're on your way.

2GB isn't exactly a ton of storage, so you may want to download music to your computer as you transfer more into your Dropbox folder.

Here's how to intstall Dropbox on your computer:

  1. Launch your web browser on your computer.
  2. Navigate to Dropbox.com.
  3. Click create an account.
  4. Enter your first name, last name, and email address into the fields. You can also choose to Sign up with Google.
  5. Click the checkbox to agree to the terms and conditions.

  6. Click Create an account.
  7. Click the Free Download button to install Dropbox on your computer.

Next, you'll want to install and set up Dropbox on your Android phone if it isn't already. Here's how:

  1. Download the Dropbox app from the Google Play Store.
  2. Launch Dropbox from your home screen or the app drawer.
  3. Tap Sign in.
  4. Enter your email address and password.
  5. Tap Sign in.

You can tap Not Now through the "Set up Dropbox on your computer" stuff, since you've already done that.

Now when you want to upload files, create folders, take photos to upload, and a lot more, you just press the big + button. To add your music to your Dropbox folder, just select Audio from the list of options that pops up.

Once your music is in the cloud, you'll be able to access it from any device that has Dropbox on it and, even better, you'll be able to share it all with friends, even those without Dropbox! They'll simply receive a link and will have full access to the music you've shared.

Dropbox isn't just for music; you can upload video, photos, text files, and just about everything in between. It certainly beats the hell out of having to connect a USB cable from your computer to your phone and you can easily make files available offline by downloading them from your Dropbox folder.

How to back up your music files to your computer

You can use a USB cable and transfer your music from your phone to the hard drive on your computer. This works like any other MTP device (like a media player or camera) and the only limiting factor is hard drive space. it's also pretty easy to do.

Android File Transfer

If you're a Mac user you need a special utility to transfer music (or any type of file) from your Android phone onto your computer: Android File Transfer. It's not the greatest app in the world, but it gets the job done.

There isn't much to the setup process; you just download it, install it, and that's it. When you connect your Android phone to your Mac via USB, Android File Transfer will open automatically. You may have to tap Allow on your phone before you're able to access its contents on your Mac.

Once you do have access, you'll be able to access all of the files that are stored on your Android phone, as well as any that are stored on your microSD card, if you use one. From there, you can just drag and drop music at will into folders on your computer. The best part is that you can drag out entire folders into a Finder window, instead of having to tap, hold, and select all, like you do on your phone.

One caveat: do not try to move too much music at once. One of the reasons Android File Transfer isn't so great is that it seems to just crap out if you overload it. When transferring music, do so in smaller batches under 1GB. Otherwise, you might get halfway through transferring a batch and it'll just stop and you'll have to dig around and figure out exactly where it stopped and where to start again.

It may be a bit of a pain in the hiney, but if you want music from your Android phone on your Mac without using a cloud-based service, then it's the only way.

Windows users have it even easier

If you're using a computer running Microsoft Windows (version 7 or later) all you need to do is plug in your phone to a USB port using the supplied cable. A regular Windows Explorer window will open with your phone's contents right there for the taking. Just drag and drop to the place you want to store your music and let it copy things over.

When it's finished you can "eject" the phone from the taskbar icon like any other USB device.

The first time you plug your phone in Windows might need to install and setup some things. Just wait until it's finished and you'll be ready to go.

The bottom line

Using a cloud-based service to transfer music from your Android phone to your computer is easy, and you can access your music from just about any device with an internet connection. You can also download your tunes for offline listening to a computer or another Android from the cloud service.

The sharing feature is also a great reason to use Google Drive or Dropbox since most songs are too large to email normally and the folks you share with can choose to download the music you send or play it right there in the Google Drive or Dropbox link.

If you would rather skip the cloud, using a USB cable to transfer files directly to a computer is easy, too. Android File Transfer can get finicky from time to time if you're a Mac user, but in the end everything is just drag and drop.