Here at Android Police, we've made our position on the prevalence of free-to-play mobile games perfectly known, to wit: most of them suck. It often seems like instead of embracing the audience-widening possibilities that the phrase "free game" implies, developers and publishers use it as an excuse to design games around compelling in-app purchases for more and more fleeting rewards. The phenomenon is well-documented, so I won't bore you with the inherently manipulative methods of most F2P games - you can read here and here if you really need a refresher.
There comes a time in every major tech corporation's life when it has to let its previously-acquired but only tangentially-related asset go as part of a complex transaction with a multinational electronics firm. For Google, that time came today, when it announced that it would sell Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for $2.91 billion.
I, too, feel your pain. The idea of a Google-run phone manufacturer was, to me, a kind of techno-nirvana.
Yesterday, the CTIA (America's wireless carrier consortium / trade group) and the FCC announced that they'd come to an agreement on network unlocking of cell phones. Hooray! So, we're all getting unlocked phones from here on out, right? Obviously not - the CTIA has no interest in giving you that much freedom, so instead it's released a plodding, incremental evolution of most carriers' existing device unlock policies to satisfy people in Washington who apparently don't really understand the absurdity of network locking in the first place.
NVIDIA SHIELD, the company's first in-house built device, is officially available for pre-order for $350. And no sooner than the announcement was made, the "this is too expensive!" comments started showing up. I want to explain why I think that line of thinking is not only unfair, but also illogical.
The issue with SHIELD, in my opinion, isn't actually with SHIELD itself but rather the way people are perceiving it.
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.
It's 4 a.m., I just read the 6th mention of the same misleading story in the last 24 hours, and it's time for a rant.
Yesterday, several "independent" reports all claiming to arrive at the same conclusion at the same time (does anyone properly credit their sources anymore?) appeared on the web suggesting HTC had just (*gasp*) leaked two new Android 4.3 features: Bluetooth Low-Energy and OpenGL ES 3.0. And it's done so via a public meetup organized by the San Francisco Android User Group.
A few days ago, I posted about a student project at a Russian University that aims to run two or more instances of Android at the same time on a single device. It's a technology called virtualization, and we already use it on web servers and developer machines everywhere.
At first glance, the idea sounds interesting, but seems to lack practical uses for the majority of people. Sure, some developers will save a few hours on testing, and industrious users might want to run the latest CyanogenMod nightly ROM alongside their daily driver, but this kind of stuff doesn't really appeal to your neighbors or parents.
Today, Facebook announced the Facebook Home suite that we've been hearing so much about. Well, to be more accurate, we've been hearing that Facebook is going to build its own phone and fork Android and create its own special social OS and that it would be the end of Google and that civilization will crash around us and we'll all wear monkey pelts and "Like" statuses by hurling spears through our enemies.
Yesterday, T-Mobile officially announced its new "UNcarrier" plans to much fanfare and profanity. The idea is simple: you pay one price for your service, and a separate price for your device. You can either choose to pay the full cost of your phone up front, or pay a deposit at first and then a monthly fee after that.
"But wait," the entire tech world cried, "That monthly fee is still a contract, right?
Did you hear about Google's sweet new app called Keep? After five years of Android existing without a basic note-taking app like iOS had for forever, Google finally got around to creating its own. Oh, and it even added a to-do list and picture uploading and voice memos and-wait, what's that? You don't want to use it because Google Reader closed? I'm not sure I follow.
I'm an open-minded kind of guy, though.