Editorials

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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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Animated PNG format: How does it compare to Animated WebP and GIF?

The Graphics Interchange Format was initially developed by CompuServe in 1987, and has become a staple of the internet. However, GIFs have some limitations, and many sites have switched to using HTML5 video in WebM or MP4 format (such as Gfycat, Imgur, Twitter, and others).

There are a few competing formats that are designed to overcome the problems of GIFs, namely Animated PNG and Animated WebP. Now that Chrome 59 (currently in beta) supports both formats, it's worth discussing - which is better?

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Opinion: Google should fix its erratic reminder system

The ability to quickly set a reminder on your phone is one many of us take for granted these days. Smartphones have seemingly always had this basic PDA functionality. Type ‘add reminder’ into the Google search box and you’ll be able to quickly set up a notification to jog your memory about something later on. You can even use the ‘OK Google’ voice command: “remind me to pick up the groceries at 6pm,” for example. Easy-peasy.

For most people, this function is used occasionally for something really important they simply mustn't forget. And for those people, it probably works just fine.

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Should Progressive Web Apps be allowed in the Play Store?

When the iPhone was first released, there wasn't an App Store. During the announcement at WWDC 2007, Steve Jobs said that web apps would be the only development platform for the iPhone. The decision obviously didn't stick, with Apple announcing the App Store just a year later, but it started the idea of mobile-first web apps (that weren't basic WAP sites).

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Google's messaging mess is about money, not making your life easier (opinion)

I have a simple rule in life—if something does not seem to make sense, look for the money. What I mean is that profitability is often the simplest explanation for a decision that might seem to make little or no sense to someone on the outside of a company looking in. How does this rule apply to Google’s messaging mess? Much ink, and possibly much blood, has been spilt over Google’s recent messaging app strategy (or lack thereof). To some, it is a mangled and unfocused mess of half-baked concepts sent out into the world for us to shill to our increasingly impatient friends and family.

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