YouTube Red is a damn good idea, and I'm not even going to qualify that statement. You know why it's a damn good idea? Because YouTube needs to grow up, and step one is getting rid of those garbage advertisements we all love to hate so much. Step two is convincing average, rational human beings that maybe, possibly, they could see themselves in a world in which they might actually pay to more conveniently watch the things and people they really, really, really like to watch.
At the moment, and probably for a while yet, basically all of YouTube's revenue comes from advertisements. Read More
There's no denying that the increased performance:power consumption ratio of CPUs has been benefiting laptops and tablets alike of late. Microsoft's Surface Pro series, Apple's new iPad Pro (a product I would also call pretty misguided, to be honest), the new MacBook, and a slew of Chromebooks are all doing things that would have been nigh-unthinkable five years ago in their respective form factors or price points. Also, tablet sales are down and the traditional tablet model doesn't seem to be working so well anymore. So, Google is apparently hip to this now and wants Android to get in on the action with its own mobile-feeling but laptop-grade-ish ultra-portable device. Read More
This rant isn't a long-coming, deep-think sort of article. It is, however, at least mildly timely. Soon, Apple will tell us how many people have bought an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus (or pre-ordered one) in the first weekend of sales. Or maybe they won't, if sales are down versus last year (because Apple). They'll also round it to the nearest million units, because something-something-sellthrough delay blah blah regional reporting issues, etcetera.
Surprisingly, for being the world's most notoriously secretive company, Apple is still among the most open about device sales - even though that's saying very, very little. Every fiscal quarter, we get to hear how many iPhones, iPads, and Macs Apple has shipped. Read More
Back in late July, the Qualcomm Corporation - employer of over 30,000 individuals at the time - began the process of telling about 15% of those people (eg, over 4,000 gainfully-employed human beings) they were no longer needed. This was after already cutting another 1500 jobs in late 2014.
The company's stock is currently trading near 2-year lows, and while obviously still a very robust company, Qualcomm can't keep putting in these kinds of numbers if it's going to maintain its position at the tippy-top of the smartphone chipset market.
Qualcomm (QCOM - NASDAQ) stock is down over 10% year-to-date. It is down over 20% from its peak, reached in early 2014. Read More
OnePlus is easily the world's most controversial smartphone company, and that's for good reason: they actively bring that controversy upon themselves. And they know they do.
Case in point: the OnePlus 2's so dumb I can't believe it but yes I can marketing slogan - "2016 Flagship Killer."
Now, if you ask OnePlus about this phrase, they'll probably claim you're not "getting" their meaning. Their "meaning" is that "specs don't matter." People are tired of specs (OnePlus cofounder Carl Pei literally told me this, by the way). Except the specs OnePlus dutifully teased over the course of weeks and months leading up to their phone's launch. Read More
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