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The US smartphone market is devolving into a Samsung and Apple market - and that's bad for Android

If you live in the United States and walk into a Verizon store, you have essentially four options when it comes to choosing a premium smartphone brand: Apple, Samsung, LG, and Google. Yesterday, we learned that continuing to expect LG will be one of these options probably isn't the best bet.

While there may yet be a premium LG phone that launches on Verizon, the Korean conglomerate looks poised to join Motorola as one of Verizon's when-it's-convenient handset partners, and is quite possibly on its way to the Verizon graveyard with the likes of HTC, Sony, and BlackBerry.

The same can generally be said of AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint.

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Fascinating read: How Google Maps has moved so far ahead of the competition

Justin O’Beirne is what you would call a modern cartographer. He has long believed that the future of map making has to be intertwined with technology, and his career has seen him work in Cupertino contributing to Apple's Maps platform. He's also an avid blogger and public speaker and even spoke at Google I/O back in 2011 about styling digital maps for enhanced usability.

On his website, O'Beirne likes to track the progress of different map apps, comparing them against previous versions and each other. His most recent post looks in depth at Google Maps and just how far ahead of the rest of the pack it is.

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Apple confirms it is buying Shazam

Last week, a report from TechCrunch claimed that Apple was about to buy Shazam for an unknown amount. For the unacquainted, Shazam is a music-detection app, but the company behind it has been looking into AR and other technologies Apple could be interested in. The buyout has now been confirmed by Apple in a public announcement.

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Shazam reportedly about to be purchased by Apple

Shazam was one of the first third-party applications available on the iPhone, as it launched in 2008 alongside the iOS App Store. Later that year, it arrived on Android, and it has continued to maintain a strong userbase. According to a report from TechCrunch, Apple could be looking to buy Shazam as soon as Monday.

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Android to iPhone, part two: What I've liked about switching to the iPhone X

I can already tell I’ll have a hard time going back to Android’s software navigation keys.

One of the most pleasantly surprising features of the iPhone X - and something that’s going to read like it’s straight out of Phil Schiller’s marketing playbook - comes in the form of what Apple removed from the phone: the home button. By forcing the issue of gesture navigation instead of going half-in with soft keys, Apple’s made a convert of me. I like gesture nav.

It’s also kind of broken. There’s no universal gesture to go back (some apps let you swipe from the left - sometimes), and the quick switcher button at the top left of the phone requires some serious thumb acrobatics to reach.

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I’ve never used an iPhone, part one: Switching to the iPhone X and first thoughts

On a fall day over eight years ago, I walked into an AT&T store in Davis, my college town, to see the iPhone 3GS. I held it, stared at it, looked at the price card, then back at the phone, and then down at the price card again. Reality began to set in.

I was locked into a contract with my Sony-Ericsson feature phone for another six months. I asked about early upgrade pricing - $200 on top of the $199 AT&T already charged for the phone - but I was a student, and my meager checking account balance could barely withstand the regular on-contract price and accompanying increase in the monthly service fee.

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Google is working on Fuchsia OS support for Apple's Swift programming language

Google's in-development operating system, named 'Fuchsia,' first appeared over a year ago. It's quite different from Android and Chrome OS, as it runs on top of the real-time 'Zircon' kernel instead of Linux. According to recent code commits, Google is working on Fuchsia OS support for the Swift programming language.

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Samsung's latest ad makes direct jabs at multiple generations of the iPhone, and it's pretty funny

Samsung seems to be angling towards a different type of ad campaign: one that makes fun of competitors' devices. We first saw this (indirectly) with Samsung's 'Screen Reviews' commercial, but this latest 'Growing Up' takes the roasts to a whole other level. Several generations of the iPhone are highlighted here, and it's really very well done.

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Android versus iOS software updates revisited: Two years later and not much has changed

Two years ago, I drew up a little comparison between the duration of software support for iOS and Nexus devices, and the differences were stark. Whereas Google only committed to 24 months of OS updates on its flagship phones, Apple typically updates their iPhones for up to 5 years after release. At the time, I was somewhat hopeful that things would improve gradually over time: Google had just formalized the 24-month update policy a few weeks prior, and we were already seeing a few devices like the Nexus 4 and the 2012 Nexus 7 that were being kept up-to-date for 34 or 38 months.

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AirPods can activate Google Assistant on your Android device with this app

There are only a handful of truely wireless earbuds on the market that are actually worth using, and perhaps the most popular at the moment is Apple's AirPods. But unlike most Apple products, they actually work pretty well with non-Apple devices, including Android phones. If you're looking for tighter integration between AirPods and your Android phone, DotArrow's latest app will come in handy.

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