Android One is an ambitious smartphone initiative launched by Google in 2014. To date, it's been limited to a handful of countries - mostly in Asia - and it remains at best unclear if it's actually been successful. The idea was nice enough: Inexpensive Android phones built by typical handset-makers, but with Google lending a helping hand on the messy business of software updates. Of course, the carrot also came with a stick. In exchange for this software support, those handset companies agreed to use what Google decided constituted a good, proper Android - no bloat, stock look and feel, and regular security patches. Read More
The Galaxy Note 7 may have left us too soon, but LG wants you to remember that it also offers stylus-equipped Android phones! Granted, the G3 Stylus and G Stylo weren't exactly in the same super-premium league as the Notes, but they had big screens and pointy sticks, and that's what counts. The LG Stylo 2 wasn't blessed with a G, and perhaps that's why it hasn't come to any American carriers. Spotting a hole where a superfluous letter needed to go, Verizon decided to slap a "V" on the end. So now we have the Verizon LG Stylo 2 V, coming to a retailer near you on October 20th. Read More
I like budget phones. I especially like those that still let me run the latest version of Android. It looks like AT&T's upcoming GoPhone from LG may be one to add to that list. Read More
Back in January of 2014, Blu released what I then called my "favorite Blu phone to date"—the Life One X. At the time, it was a solid budget phone, but affordable smartphones have come so far since then. The last year or so has been great for the budget phone scene, and we've watched devices get more and more powerful while prices kept dropping.
Today, Blu announced the new version of the Life One X, and guess what? It's probably the best budget device I've ever used. One might even say it's probably "my favorite Blu phone to date," save for maybe the new Pure XL. Read More
As I sit here in a hip Los Angeles coffee shop across from the seemingly never-ending whooshes and rumbles of LA traffic on a busy boulevard just outside the door, I wonder if $4 is a reasonable price for the latte now sitting in front of me. It does have one of those latte art fern-shaped things on it. Or, at least it looks like a fern to me.
While not a tiny amount of money, it doesn't seem totally unreasonable. (And trust me: $4 for a latte is a respectable price in Los Angeles.) After all, I am availing myself the use of said business's counter, its rather lovely interior inspired by the owner's Taiwanese heritage (well, supposedly), a nice ceramic cup for my beverage, and the generally relaxed atmosphere the place provides. Read More
We're entering into an era where you no longer have to spend more than a few hundred dollars on a good, usable smartphone. Manufacturers like Blu have done a lot for the budget smartphone, and more mainstream phone makers like Motorola have brought the words "budget" and "flagship" together in a way we didn't think would ever be possible.
I've been messing with a new affordable device from a relatively new manufacturer to the scene here lately: the Nuu Z8. Nuu currently has a couple of other budget devices on the market, but the Z8 is what the company is calling its flagship device. Read More
HTC's Desire brand has hung on through two revisions of the "company-wide" One moniker, oddly adopting features and style queues from the flagship series while aiming for a lower price point. So it is with the latest Desire phones to come to Verizon, the 526 and 626. Verizon announced the pair earlier today, with the cheaper Desire 526 going on sale tomorrow (August 13th) and the Desire 626 available "in the coming weeks."
The 526 is the cheaper of the two phones, with a 4.7-inch 960x540 screen and an 8-megapixel camera (according to Verizon's short press release). HTC's website has rather more information, revealing a Snapdragon 210 processor, 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB of storage plus a MicroSD card slot, a rather diminutive 2000mAh battery, and a 2MP front-facing camera. Read More
Competition in Android smartphones is better now than it's ever been, and not just in the flagship segment. With devices like the Moto G, the ZenFone 2, and various Blu designs, the mid-range is heating up with phones that are jam-packed with value. But how about the low-end, entry phone segment? For those people who just want a device that runs a few apps, plays a nice round of Threes, and maybe browse for some sports scores? Before a few years ago, they were limited to whatever bottom-of-the-line, low-margin phones Samsung and LG would spare.
These days things are a little different. Read More
Despite the continuing tense relationship between Cyanogen and OnePlus, the former seems to be making new partnerships all the time, particularly with low-cost phone suppliers in emerging markets. The latest to run the company's custom build of Android is a carrier phone from Indonesian company Smartfren, the Andromax Q. Despite having a name that sounds like some kind of multi-gendered Replicant, it will be Indonesia's first phone running Cyanogen "OS."
The specs on the Andromax Q are decidedly low-end - here in the states it would probably cost $100-150 off-contract, and it will sell for 1.3 million Rupiah (about $97 USD) from Smartfren. Read More
The G Stylo is an odd beast: its huge screen and built-in stylus imply a competitor to the Galaxy Note series, but a collection of low-end hardware specs means that it's actually intended for bargain hunters or those on a tight budget. If you're looking to get an interesting phone on the equally cheap Boost Mobile MVNO, you've now got the G Stylo as a choice. Boost is selling the phone for $199.99 without a contract.
Boost's parent company Sprint will also offer the G Stylo, but for some reason it's going to take a little longer to arrive with yellow paint. Read More