Amazon first introduced its Alexa voice assistant alongside the Echo speaker around two years ago. Though the Echo line of products has proved to be exceedingly popular, the audio that even the flagship model produces still leaves something to be desired. If you like the idea of Alexa but have been holding off on buying an Echo because of the lackluster sound quality, Amazon has something in the works that may appeal to you - a touchscreen-equipped Alexa device with premium sound. Read More
Pretty much any adult has probably had this conversation at some point: "The drivers in [my city] are so much worse than the drivers in [your city]." The truth is that you can find shitty drivers everywhere, but empirically, some places are definitely worse than others. Waze, the Google-owned software company behind everyone's favorite Google Maps Navigation alternative, has decided to quantify that data. The results are posted to the Driver Satisfaction Index, and they're as slick as they are disappointing. Read More
We've already heard a good bit about the DROID Turbo 2, the latest Motorola phone customized for Verizon's US exclusive line. We've even been given a peek at the device, which seems to be very similar to the latest iterations of the Moto X series. New details have been reported by Phandroid, and while we can't confirm them, they seem like natural extensions of Motorola's current market direction. Notably, the DROID Turbo 2 will reportedly get at least some of the same Moto Maker customization options that have been slowly expanding from the Moto X to other devices.
The exact nature of the Moto Maker customizations aren't mentioned, though if the design is very similar to the Moto X you can probably expect a lot of the same choices. Read More
Amazon's Fire Phone, the logical smartphone extension of its Kindle Fire tablet series, is a dud. A combination of lackluster reviews, carrier semi-exclusivity, and most of all being tied into Amazon's app and service environment have made it more or less a total failure. The company never publishes hard data for its hardware sales, but casual observation and constant discounts (sometimes more than $500 off of the original $650 off-contract price) imply that the product has been a wash.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon isn't eager to continue in the phone market. According to the paper, "dozens" of engineers in the Lab126 hardware team have been laid off. Read More
Android One is an exciting program. Inexpensive devices with standard hardware running stock Android, with lightning-fast updates straight from Google - what's not to like? But according to a report this weekend, Android One hasn't been as successful in its premiere market as Google would have liked. The Financial Times, in an interview with Google's managing director for India and Southwest Asia, reports that big changes are coming to the series. First up: even cheaper Android-powered phones.
When One launched in India last year, the first set of phones were sold at around the 5000 Rupee mark - somewhere in the $80 range in USD. Read More
Quick poll, Verizon customers: what's the one thing you want from America's most-hated (but admittedly most reliable) wireless carrier? OK, now those who are clamoring for phones with unlockable bootloaders, sit down - everyone left standing wants unlimited data. But you shouldn't, at least not according to Verizon shill Jack Gold.
OK, so maybe it's not fair to call Mr. Gold (seriously, that's his actual name) a shill. He's an analyst, founder and president of J. Gold Associates, LLC. The fact that he appears to be the only one doing any analysis, and that the website of this "technology industry analyst firm" looks like something from 1998, should probably raise some alarms for anyone looking to get some research done. Read More
Whenever we post a story about a new app or game that has had a considerable delay in coming from iOS to Android, we get commenters asking us what took so long, or even saying that they won't download it because of the delay. We get it, and it's no less frustrating on our side. But despite Android's market share and sales dominance, developers continue to prioritize iOS. Various studies and statistical presentations say (with increasing repetition) that this is because people spend more money on the App Store than on the Play Store. It's hard to argue with the numbers. Read More
At this point, it's essentially impossible to deny that Android is beating other mobile operating systems with a big market share stick. According to a report issued by Strategy Analytics, phone manufacturers sold a combined 295.2 million smartphones worldwide in the second quarter of 2014, 249.6 million of which ran Android. That gives Google's OS a staggering 84.6% of the market share for new devices, up from 80.2% the previous year.
Apple is still in an easy but distant second place, with 35.2 million iPhones sold, accounting for the largest portion of the remaining market with 11.9%. Apple's sales rose from last year, but total market share fell. Read More
Recently, Google's ambitious and public-spirited ventures are sounding less like the careful expansions of an international megacorp and more like the pet projects of Dr. Benton Quest. Self-driving cars, medical contact lenses, industrial robots - seriously, we're just waiting on a Walking Eye and Steve Ballmer in a villain costume at this point. The latest report from the Wall Street Journal (which tends to be spot-on when it comes to Google's plans) says the company is preparing a fleet of low-orbit satellites that will deliver Internet access.
Yes, really. According to the WSJ, recent Google hire Greg Wyler, founder of O3b Networks, is laying the groundwork for a plan to expand Internet service to super-remote locations that are currently underserved. Read More
Earlier this month Android Police reported on Android Silver, a possible upcoming push into premium hardware from Google and its partners. Android Silver would see Google selecting high-end Android phones with standardized software to promote both itself and through conventional retail channels. According to a new report from Amir Efrati at The Information, the Silver program is still well underway and aimed to take on the iPhone at the top of the phone market.
Based on the information in our previous post, the Silver program consists of very specific goals for hardware, software, and promotion. Google would select up to five phones at a time (either existing models or phones made specifically for the Silver Program), using criteria that includes the latest version of Android with little to no software modification. Read More