When Google announced Android Auto at Google I/O 2014, I was already sold. And by "sold," I mean I fully expected it to be something I'd want [were I in the market to buy a car that had it]. And while I don't actually plan on buying a car with Auto any time soon, after spending a week with it, I do feel pretty OK with that gut feeling. We reviewed Auto earlier this month on a Pioneer head unit, but I figured I'd also share my own thoughts on it.
For a little bit of background, recently Hyundai allowed me to borrow a Sonata sedan (I reviewed it) with Android Auto loaded up. Read More
Let's get it out of the way: American wireless carriers suck. None of them are actually good. When you think about the internet and your connection to it in the context of your home or apartment, none of the crap carriers get away with would fly. And that's why we're constantly trying to figure out who has the best deal, who grandfathers, and how to get a phone that doesn't force you to sign a contract, or a plan that'll bleed your wallet dry.
Some carriers, like T-Mobile, are trying to change that to an extent. But they still play the same game as so many others - soft data caps that don't scale in a linear fashion (unless you opt for the unlimited plan, which still has a soft tethering cap), limited plan choices, carrier-locked phones out of the box, rollover schemes, bloatware, and a boatload of legacy and prepaid products that make it unnecessarily confusing to just choose a plan that meets your needs. Read More
We've heard it a handful of times before, but here we are again: some OEM is announcing that it's experimenting with a dual-boot Windows / Android project, or in this case, a project that will allow users to switch their handset from an Android phone to a Windows phone with a simple tool. Microsoft has teamed up with Xiaomi to test this concept on the Mi 4, but mostly as a way to get market feedback on Windows 10 for smartphones in China.
Microsoft's language makes it pretty clear this is just a one-off experiment.
Microsoft will partner with Xiaomi to offer Windows 10 free downloads to a select group of Xiaomi Mi4 users.
Today, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler unveiled a working set of principles for his proposed plans to regulate ISPs (including mobile ones) under Title II of the 1996 Telecom Act. These providers would be overseen more like a utility, such as landline phones, granting the FCC much broader authority over companies that operate in this space.
Wheeler wants to enact a pretty narrow version of net neutrality under this (proposed) newfound authority, banning "paid prioritization," paid "fast lanes," and arbitrary throttling and blocking not part of reasonable network management. These new provisions are not trivial, and are definitely ensconced in the larger net neutrality "vision" of groups like the EFF and FSF. Read More
It has now been over two months since the Lollipop OTA updates for Nexus devices began rolling out en masse. So far, every Nexus and Google Play Edition device has received the bump to Google's latest sweet treat...except the cellular Nexus 7s. If you own a 2012 3G or 2013 LTE model, you've been left out in the cold, remaining on KitKat unless you want to venture into the world of custom ROMs.
Update delays when you own a Nexus are quite annoying when you consider that bleeding edge versions of Android are the reason most of us buy them in the first place. Read More
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.
Pictured: not something you want to see in your "free" game. Read More
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. I am a shameless Google fanboy when it comes to some things, and hoped that one day a Google-backed Motorola device could provide me the best of both worlds - fast updates and more attention to the features Google doesn't quite get right in Nexus phones. Read More
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.
Under the new "rules," carriers subscribe to six basic obligations. Here they are, simplified and bulleted:
- Somewhere on their respective websites, carriers have to post an unlocking policy.
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. Sure, it's a portable gaming console; but first and foremost, it's an Android device. A stock Android device. It has access to the Play Store, Google services, and everything else that makes Android great. Read More
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. The only new handsets launched were a couple of ruggedized Kyoceras with absolutely dismal specifications. And the show floor itself is insufferably dull - here's who doesn't have a booth at CTIA 2013. Read More