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Editorials

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Opinion: The new Pixels will have the same problem as the current ones - they're just Android phones

A little-acknowledged but persistent problem has plagued every Google handset since the original Nexus One: Their most defining characteristics - Google's services and Android itself - are not unique to them.

With each new Google phone, consumers do often get their first chance to buy (well, assuming they're in stock - a big assumption) a device that ships with the latest version of Android. Or, they can wait four or five months and buy one that ships with that same version of Android from another, better-known vendor, typically with all of the major improvements and new features intact. Such a limited window of exclusivity on a highly iterative and admittedly quite geeky facet of a product all but ensures most people cannot be bothered to understand any of this.

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Opinion: The iPhone X will overshadow the new Pixels, and Google needs a battle plan

Today, Apple announced the iPhone X to the fanfare of hundreds of members of the media, investors, and its own employees at a large event in the company's new purpose-built Steve Jobs Theater, housed within its brand-new mega-campus. Next month, Google will announce the second generation of its Pixel smartphones, alongside a handful of other new products, at what will likely be a comparatively small affair attended almost exclusively by technology journalists. It will probably be in a nice - but decidedly rented - event space in San Francisco.

Apple will ship millions of iPhone Xs before the year is out, assuming supply is not an issue.

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The iPhone X and Apple Day: Thoughts from five Android Police team members

The iPhone X is, undoubtedly, the most radical rethink of the iPhone to date. Not just for what it adds, but also what it eliminates: no home button, no fingerprint scanner, and no real bezels to speak of. While the design of Apple's new phone isn't exactly unfamiliar, it's still fairly stunning in its own right, and pretty much seals the deal on low-bezel phones being the future.

There's no doubt in my mind that the iPhone X will create an attention vacuum for all other smartphones. Certainly, other phones will still be announced and get coverage, but it will be far more limited in terms of staying power and general interest to the smartphone-buying public.

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Opinion: The Galaxy Note8 is the beginning of the end of the Note - at least as we knew it

The Galaxy Note8 is, by all accounts, a perfectly competent high-end smartphone from a trusted smartphone brand. Samsung will sell millions of Note8s to Note fans the world over, which will amass Samsung a not-inconsequential pile of money, having made the whole enterprise ostensibly worthwhile. But behind a muted-to-mildly-positive critical reception and a sound business case lies a pretty inescapable truth: the Galaxy Note just doesn't make very much sense anymore.

Product overlap plus

The Galaxy S8+, released alongside the S8 earlier this year, offers a screen that is just a tenth of an inch smaller than the Note8's, a battery with 200mAh more capacity, and a basically comparable software experience.

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Opinion: Motorola's Z phones are quickly becoming little more than Mod money grabs

Motorola announced the Z2 Force at an event in New York City yesterday, ostensibly the 2017 flagship for the struggling smartphone brand, following up the Z and Z Force of 2016. The Z series is notable both for marking a major transition in Moto's flagship strategy, but also for the Moto Mods that underpinned the alleged reasoning behind that shift.

Motorola loves to toss out figures about the adoption rate for Moto Mods, but it hasn't issued any really solid ones in regard to which Mods people are using or how often they're using them. The reality is that this is probably because the battery Mod - the most painfully, glaringly, obvious use case for Mods - makes up the great bulk of that uptake.

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Opinion: Good smartphones are getting more expensive - because we're demanding more from them

When OnePlus announced the OnePlus 5, the newest handset from a company that has become synonymous with value for money among smartphone enthusiasts, there was some real sticker shock. The phone starts at $479, making it $30 more expensive than the OnePlus 3T, and $80 more expensive than the base OnePlus 3. The OnePlus 3 was, in turn, $70 more expensive than the OnePlus 2, which was $30 more expensive than the original OnePlus One.

To take things end to end, the original OnePlus One 64GB retailed for $349 when it was announced in 2014. Today, the 64GB OnePlus 5 costs $479, a price creep of nearly 40% over the years if you compare along the same storage capacity.

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Opinion: Software updates shouldn't just be faster, they should be better

The software update giveth and the software update taketh away - it’s a tale as old as updateable tech. On the one hand, updates come bearing gifts: exciting new features intended to breathe new life into our devices, as well as the essential security patches necessary to ensure they are protected from exploitation. On the other, every new software build is also an opportunity for the update deliveryman to enter your home unannounced, pick up a metaphorical hammer, smash your device to a practically useless pulp, and leave - with little to no recourse available once the warranty period has expired.

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Opinion: Google+ isn’t dead, but it is drowning in spam (though it plans to do something about it)

Last month Gideon Rosenblatt did a post on Google+ about the very platform, and it resonated with us here at AP. Many of you may know that we have invested a lot of our time here into Google+. After all, this is Android Police, and Google+ is as much a product of Google as Android is. But, we’ve been disheartened recently by issues with the social network. Most notably, a growing problem with spam.

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Comparison: All of the Android Wear devices announced or released in 2017 so far

Android Wear started off, as many Google products do, as something closer to a proof-of-concept than a finished product. The first watches had problems, the software was unfinished, and tech companies were the only ones producing them. Now that Android Wear is becoming a more mature platform, mostly thanks to the long-awaited 2.0 update, we're starting to see more watches than ever hit the market.

It was fairly easy to compare Android Wear watches in years past - only a handful of tech companies even bothered. But now, a vast amount of wearables are being released, with most of them by actual watch companies.

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Opinion: Even if you can, you probably shouldn't buy a Google Pixel anymore

The Google Pixel is a notoriously hard phone to get a hold of. Persistent stock issues have plagued Google's first "in-house" handset from day one, and things really are little to no better six months after the launch event. Honestly, it's a bit embarrassing just how consistently incompetent Google seems to be at keeping a reasonable inventory of phones available for purchase. But setting that aside, as one of the Pixel's most ardent evangelists, I think there's something it's probably time for me to come clean on: Even if you could buy a Pixel today, I really think you shouldn't.

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