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weekend poll

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Weekend poll: How long have you owned your current smartphone?

Smartphones are getting better, generally speaking. There's little doubt of this. Cameras, displays, computing performance, and connectivity see improvements with each passing generation. The adoption of common standards - some that you may not even think about - has helped a lot, too. Everything from the super obvious (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) to the formerly obscure but increasingly necessary (NFC, USB-C) continues to cause smartphones as a whole to commoditize and, on some basic level, homogenize. As a result, intercompatibility of smartphones and content is likely at an all-time high, reducing the incentive to upgrade your device as often. And as the experience has gotten better in most areas (perhaps less in battery life!), the frustrations that caused people to upgrade yearly or even biennially have also probably decreased as a function of that general betterment.

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Weekend poll: Would you endure lockscreen ads in exchange for a discounted smartphone?

I'm using Amazon's $60 BLU R1 HD Prime Exclusive smartphone for a month - my next post on it should go live this week. But using the phone got me wondering: how many Android enthusiasts would be willing to deal with lockscreen ads in exchange for a [steeply] discount smartphone?

Let's put aside the possibility of removing those ads. For the purpose of this poll, imagine the phone you are buying at a discount will have lockscreen ads that are impossible to remove. But equally, imagine that phone comes at a rather substantial discount, say, 15-25% (or more, if it's a particularly cheap phone) off MSRP on day one of its launch.

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Weekend poll: are you playing Pokémon GO?

Pokémon GO has become an overnight sensation - probably far exceeding even the expectations of Nintendo America or Niantic. Tens of millions of players are already searching their world for new Pokémon, battling in gyms, and collecting various items to help increase the power of their pocket monsters.

While it's not officially available everywhere yet, you can always sideload the APK from APK Mirror (our APK is completely safe and was taken directly from the Play Store - we aren't shifting shady package files) to get in on the action.

I played for a solid couple of hours today, wandering my neighborhood (which is packed with Pokestops, apparently) and collecting new creatures and several-hundred Poké Balls.

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Weekend poll: what do you think of the Android 'Nougat' codename?

The mystery and intrigue are over: after the usual post-I/O buildup, and even a first-ever user submission process, Google has made the name of Android N public. If you've been under a rock all week, the dessert of the year is "Nougat," which will be used to refer to Android 7.0 (and possibly one or two more iterative version bumps, a la Jelly Bean).

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Weekend poll: Android N's notifications, love 'em or hate 'em?

Android N has made some significant, nay, major changes to the notification cards compared to the outgoing L. For one, notifications now just look a lot more same-y: your Hangouts notifications don't look much different than your Inbox notifications which don't look much different from your Gmail notifications and so on and so forth. Small icons, little border separating individual cards, and a whole lot of white space can make Android N's notifications more difficult to visually parse, particularly if you're getting a huge number of notifications.

The collapsible notifications - aka bundling - are also something of a mess at the moment.

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Weekend poll: do you think Google Allo should replace Hangouts?

Google Allo is scheduled for a summer release, and recent changes to the app's iconography on the Play Store have brought back discussions on just what purpose the app really serves. With Hangouts probably being one of the most oft-derided Google products in existence, a replacement - even though Allo isn't technically replacing Hangouts - might be welcome. Or it might not: many Hangouts users would rather Google revamp that platform with Allo-like features instead of just releasing yet another chat app. How Allo and Hangouts will coexist remains unclear at this point - will Hangouts languish as Allo becomes Google's favored chat platform?

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[Weekend Poll] Is Your Phone Rooted?

Around a year and a half ago, I asked you this very question. Two years before that, we also asked you. I'm asking you again, because I think rooting may be on the downswing even in the Android enthusiasts community these days, as Android itself has become more flexible and feature-rich over the years. In 2012, nearly three quarters of you said your primary Android smartphone was rooted, with the last poll around 18 months ago seeing the proportion of rooted devices drop by 10 points, to just 63%.

So, I ask you again today: is your primary Android smartphone rooted?

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[Weekend Poll] Do You Put Your Phone In A Case / Skin?

Protecting your smartphone is something that can be accomplished through both passive (e.g., waterproofing) and active (e.g., a case) means. But today I want to talk specifically about cases. Smartphone cases have endured over the years among a huge segment of the market, and cases have evolved into distinct subtypes - and oddities, like the pictured HTC Dot View above - to accommodate particular consumer demands.

What I want to know is this: do you use a smartphone case, and what kind?

As a phone reviewer, I don't really have the luxury of cases - I simply use too many phones to go out and buy endless accessories for, though if I did plan on using a smartphone for two years straight, I'd probably at least consider a skin of some kind.

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[Weekend Poll] Are You Happy With Your Phone's Battery Life?

Battery life is among the utmost concerns for many smartphone owners today, and it's also an area where alleged improvements can sometimes feel hit or miss. An objective hit, for example, came in the form of Samsung's Galaxy S7 and S7 edge this year, which have easily walked away with the battery life crown among their chief rivals. Still, perhaps for some of you, even those phones don't provide enough charge to make it through a day reliably - and that really should be the goal, shouldn't it?

So, this weekend's poll is all about your subjective satisfaction: does your current smartphone's battery life give you all you need and more?

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[Weekend Poll] Do You Want A Proper Reboot Function In Stock Android?

The reboot button has been a contentious issue in stock Android for years now, and Google has to date seemed content in not providing this function to users. We actually brought this up with core Android dev Dan Sandler at Google I/O this year - or, rather, Artem brought it up. There's no doubt in my mind that at least some on the Android team don't like the idea of the button because it's a tacit admission that Android needs to be rebooted frequently enough to make the key useful - i.e., it is not as stable over long uptimes as, say, iOS.

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