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Editorials

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I used the Google Pixelbook as my only laptop at CES - and it completely converted me

The Google Pixelbook is a truly excellent piece of hardware, as I stated in my review of it over two months ago. The refrain so often heard about Chromebooks, though, is that Chrome OS's limited application ecosystem prevents it from being a "serious" laptop operating system. As someone who frequently travels and has to be mobile as part of my job, I thought I'd put Google's laptop to the test in a live environment: CES.

Now, CES isn't quite the on-the-ground reporting slog it once was for Android Police. The number of smartphones announced at the show is tiny, and much of our work stems from various briefings and meetings rather than rubbing shoulders with attendees on the show floor.

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The US smartphone market is devolving into a Samsung and Apple market - and that's bad for Android

If you live in the United States and walk into a Verizon store, you have essentially four options when it comes to choosing a premium smartphone brand: Apple, Samsung, LG, and Google. Yesterday, we learned that continuing to expect LG will be one of these options probably isn't the best bet.

While there may yet be a premium LG phone that launches on Verizon, the Korean conglomerate looks poised to join Motorola as one of Verizon's when-it's-convenient handset partners, and is quite possibly on its way to the Verizon graveyard with the likes of HTC, Sony, and BlackBerry.

The same can generally be said of AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint.

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Opinion: In-screen fingerprint scanners are cool, but may be too late to matter

Here at CES 2018, I had a chance to look at what some of us probably considered mere fantasy a few short years ago: a fingerprint scanner that can see through a smartphone display. It sounds like something that must be so complex it would be beyond explanation, but really, the basic principles aren't terribly difficult to grasp.

The short of it is this: smartphone screens are light-permeable, because they are porous. The thinner the display, the more light-permeable it probably is, and OLED screens are the thinnest currently being manufactured. By shining a bright enough light through the porous display, a sensor can observe the reflection of your fingerprint against the display components and use that to create a computer-readable image.

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Opinion: Google has quietly become one of the world's most important hardware companies

As we say goodbye to 2017, I'd like you to think back to five years ago - specifically, Google five years ago. At that time, if I had told you Google was one of the world's most important consumer electronics manufacturers, you'd probably have laughed at me.

Mentally put yourself in 2012: Google's just announced the fourth Nexus phone, the Nexus 4, running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, along with the Nexus 10 tablet. At Google I/O six months prior, it unveiled the Nexus Q - a device intended to be some sort of smart entertainment hub... and proceeded to cancel its public launch.

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Meet the new guy: Jason Hahn

Season’s greetings. I’ve been hanging around for the past two months, so it seems time for a proper introduction: My name is Jason, obviously. I currently work in a corporate communications role during the week and enjoy the privilege of writing for this site Saturday and Sunday mornings. Some of my earliest memories of technology involve an IBM PS/2 and a Robie Junior. What brings me here is my fondness for the world of Android, which began when I soft-bricked my Nexus 5 in January 2014.

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Switching to the iPhone, part three: Everything I hate about the iPhone X

I look at my phone. It vibrates. It asks for my password.

This is the single most annoying experience I have on a regular basis with the iPhone X. Face ID is at once pretty good and absolutely infuriating. The iPhone X is, as a result, the most frustrating smartphone I have used in recent memory. The iPhone X is also pretty great, but when it rubs me the wrong way, it really rubs me the wrong way.

Switching to the iPhone hasn't been without annoyances and sacrifices. In fact, it's come with quite a few, if I'm going to be honest with you about it.

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Meet the new guy: James Sanders

Hey, I'm James Sanders. I started writing for Android Police in late October, though I've been writing about technology since 2013. I'm also (apparently) the first writer at Android Police who lives in Japan.

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Android to iPhone, part two: What I've liked about switching to the iPhone X

I can already tell I’ll have a hard time going back to Android’s software navigation keys.

One of the most pleasantly surprising features of the iPhone X - and something that’s going to read like it’s straight out of Phil Schiller’s marketing playbook - comes in the form of what Apple removed from the phone: the home button. By forcing the issue of gesture navigation instead of going half-in with soft keys, Apple’s made a convert of me. I like gesture nav.

It’s also kind of broken. There’s no universal gesture to go back (some apps let you swipe from the left - sometimes), and the quick switcher button at the top left of the phone requires some serious thumb acrobatics to reach.

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I’ve never used an iPhone, part one: Switching to the iPhone X and first thoughts

On a fall day over eight years ago, I walked into an AT&T store in Davis, my college town, to see the iPhone 3GS. I held it, stared at it, looked at the price card, then back at the phone, and then down at the price card again. Reality began to set in.

I was locked into a contract with my Sony-Ericsson feature phone for another six months. I asked about early upgrade pricing - $200 on top of the $199 AT&T already charged for the phone - but I was a student, and my meager checking account balance could barely withstand the regular on-contract price and accompanying increase in the monthly service fee.

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The ZTE Axon M is the weirdest smartphone I've ever tried [and failed] to use

"It's interesting." That's what I heard most often when I would show someone ZTE's bizarre dual-screen phone.

And, inevitably, "Who's it for?"

I never came up with a good answer. The Axon M is unlike any other smartphone on the market. Some people have made a point of likening it to the long-deceased Kyocera Echo, and while it is similar to that phone, the concept has evolved a fair bit. The Axon M is more mature, more considered, and more thoughtful - ZTE clearly spent time thinking about how a dual-screen phone would work, and how to minimize some of (though definitely not all) the pain points it would present.

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