Let me just start by saying that I like the DROID Maxx and DROID Mini. Why conclude a review before I begin it? Because so many people have already concluded that they cannot like these phones. Motorola's new devices have proven incredibly polarizing among enthusiasts, especially to Google and Android diehards who held on till the bitter end to a fantasy (and that is what it was) that the company would come to the rescue of marginalized power users.
NVIDIA’s SHIELD is a gaming device that defies classification. The full-sized controls and Android software make it more than a portable gaming device, at least on paper, but it doesn't compete with (or complement) more conventional mobile form factors. SHIELD is something entirely new.
The only way to evaluate a gaming machine is on how it plays games, and in that respect, SHIELD is amazing... at least in a few specific circumstances.
With no DROID 5 in sight for an unveiling at next week's Verizon festivities, it seems the writing is on the wall for the form-factor that basically got Android off the ground: the QWERTY slider phone.
It's been nearly 4 years since the original DROID and HTC G1 debuted, two phones that really carried the Android platform in those early, uncertain days. It seemed, perhaps, that the trend the Sidekick (aka Hiptop) started in 2002 might continue on into the true smartphone era, side-by-side with the increasingly popular touchscreen slab (which at that point really just meant the iPhone).
CTIA is, supposedly, the largest tech convention focused on mobile in the United States. In fact, it has generally been one of Verizon and Sprint's favored handset launch venues in recent years. The EVO 4G was announced at CTIA. So was the EVO 3D. The Galaxy Tab 8.9. The DROID Incredible 4G. Even last year's relatively low-key show brought a few noteworthy nuggets.
This year, though, is a wasteland.
Surprisingly, the licensed LEGO Star Wars PC and console games (and most of the subsequent Indiana Jones/Batman/Harry Potter/et cetera games) turned out to be pretty good. They're tight, enjoyable adventure games with interesting construction mechanics, and humor suitable to both kids and adults. Though The LEGO Group has released more than a dozen Android titles already, their first tie-in game is LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles, available now as a free download.
It's very easy to look at BlackBerry and see a technological Neandertal - the company that almost had it ("it" being smartphones), but then refused to evolve in order to keep up with the competition. Let's not mince words: the iPhone nearly killed BlackBerry, and Android is happily hammering the nails into its coffin.
After the disastrous Storm and Storm 2, few thought BlackBerry had the chops to break into full-touch devices in a big way, at least until Android really started taking off.
We review a lot of high-end phones here on Android Police. In fact, we probably review a disproportionately low number of entry-level and mid-range devices, because many of them are, well, boring. We also know that you, our readers, are rarely interested in the often no-value value-proposition that these handsets tend to represent, especially in the US. Here, a wireless contract is two years long whether you're buying a refurbished Galaxy Nexus (ew!) or a shiny new Galaxy S4.
Let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we? The year was 2012, the Galaxy S III and the HTC One X were still new, and some jerk on the internet suggested that maybe it's cool if people started appreciating their amazing phones instead of complaining about how their device wasn't revolutionary.
In the time since then, certain segments of the tech community have opted to go in the other direction.
This edition focuses only on new games. The app roundup is coming up soon.
Looking for the previous roundup editions?
In Android Police’s private chat room – deep in the bowels of a place known only to a select few… Android Police writers – conversations are often had over what makes a phone good, and what makes a phone bad.
And, of course, views on this issue vary. Some have a strong preference for stock Android, and anything attempting to subvert or otherwise ‘break’ Android the way Google intended it (unless Google’s intentions sucked) is a waste of time.