Android Police

Editorials

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HTC's broken 15-day update promise for the One A9 is a small symptom of a larger malady

Last year, HTC promised that the One A9 would receive Android OS updates within 15 [business] days of the first Nexus device to get that update. HTC almost immediately failed to meet its self set goal with security patches, and last I checked, my One A9 was rocking a June 1st security update in early August (it does now have the August security patch, though). Now HTC is seemingly implying the One A9 may not get Nougat until 2017, or: at least not until well after the end of August it would have under its 15-day no-longer-a-rule.

Given very few people bought the One A9, this should not surprise you in the least.

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RIP: The Nexus 5 isn't getting Android 7.0 Nougat, let's say our goodbyes

While the Nexus 5 will likely live to see the chewy center of Nougat via community-built custom ROMs, it's now official that the phone so many of us loved will never get a Google-sanctioned Android 7.0 release. Let us mourn.

The Nexus 5 launched in late 2013 - you can go back and read our review, in which Liam, Ryan, and I took to a single post to combine our thoughts on the device. They were largely positive, too: the Nexus 5 was easily the most well-received Nexus phone yet when it was released, with both consumers and reviewers alike praising its unique design, excellent performance, and compelling price.

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Simply No Choice: T-Mobile's new "ONE" plan is not good for consumers, sets bad precedents

Starting on September 6th, new T-Mobile postpaid subscribers or current postpaid customers looking to change their plan will have exactly one choice: the ONE plan. T-Mobile is dramatically simplifying its [admittedly, confusing at times] plan structure for individuals and families by introducing literally one plan. Again: the ONE plan. It works like this - as you can see in detail in our post on the news - but let me give you the flyby version.

As an individual, you'd pay $70 per month for the ONE plan. Unlimited talk, text, and data. Sounds nice! And simple. But the strings attached aren't so much strings as structural-grade steel cables.

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The 2016 Nexus "Sailfish" may have a "recycled" design, but does it even matter?

Making the rounds now is a GIF by Android Police alumnus Ron Amadeo. In it, Ron uses our leaked photo of the 2016 "Sailfish" Nexus device and frames it against a perspective-shifted image of the HTC One A9. The comparison has absolute merit: there is clearly some relationship between the front panels and overall proportions of these two devices.

But there are now claims that Sailfish has simply "recycled" the HTC One A9's design. In short: the growing sentiment is that Google phoned it in with Sailfish. But I would argue strongly that, aside from proportional similarities, dismissively calling Sailfish a reworked 2015 HTC phone is doing an unreleased handset a complete disservice and ignoring a vast, gaping chasm of nuance in favor of tired arguments about Nexus phones just being OEM leftovers that have persisted for years.

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Opinion: The bottom navigation section in the Material guidelines is not license to port an iOS navigation model

Bottom nav bars. Between the time of Gingerbread and Marshmallow, they seemed to become significantly less prevalent on Android (or maybe I was just able to avoid more of them), with many developers and designers going for other navigation models. But those other nav models - specifically the hamburger menu - aren't always ideal. Often, teams worry that items in the drawer are "hidden" from users. Sometimes immediate visibility and total obscurity seem like the only two realistic options.

To be fair, it's true that ensuring users see these options each and every time they open the app tends to increase usage. And while the situation isn't so dire, it makes sense to have official guidance on popular navigation patterns.

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Sympathy for the PR agent, or: Someone is trying to sell a battery with a rubber band for fifty bucks

In this job I work with a lot of public relations people. Their task is similar to mine, but in the opposite direction: while the responsibility of tech journalists is to present consumers with information that helps them make buying decisions, PR agents are generally instructed to drive sales by getting the news out. There's nothing wrong with the profession itself, and I've known great PR agents and those who are not so great. But I often look across the professional aisle and feel profound sympathy for my counterparts on the corporate side of tech media.

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The Galaxy Note is no longer Samsung's "enthusiast" smartphone series (opinion)

When the Galaxy Note was introduced in September 2011, it was a revelation - to some. (I, personally, did not get it, much to my disappointment in hindsight.) It was big. It was bold. It was aggressively powerful. Put side by side with Samsung's earlier Galaxy S (i9000) phone, the Galaxy Note was borderline overkill. A screen a full 1.3" larger. Twice the CPU cores, RAM, and storage. A 1280x800 resolution - scarcely believable on a smartphone at the time. The Note was, as many remember, openly ridiculed for being too much - too big, too expensive, too niche. How wrong we were.

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Moto Mods: Thoughts and first impressions

If you ask Motorola, Mods are the story with Moto Z. If you ask most smartphone enthusiasts? The Mods are decidedly not the story - they're just accessories. Well, which is it? Are Motorola's modular pieces central to the authoritative and complete Z experience, or are they forgettable add-ons? I've had a few days to play with them, and while I am not "reviewing" any of them here, I am going to share some thoughts on them.

First, we have the not-really-Mods: the style shells.

DSC03739

Moto sent out two woodgrain shells and one that I would describe as a black nylon fabric weave.

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Day three: this is a $60 Pokémon GO phone (at least until we're all tired of it)

Pokémon GO is a phenomenon. And to an extent that I think Niantic and Nintendo scarcely could have imagined. Last night, my girlfriend and I walked down the street to have a nice dinner, and on the way there I counted four or five people clearly playing GO (several were walking their dogs).

On the way back, we spotted a small crowd - perhaps a dozen or so - standing outside of a rather famous recording studio in our neighborhood. "Oh," I said to my girlfriend, "there must be some kind of event at the studio tonight." As we walked closer, I noticed these weren't the, uh, sort of individuals who I'd expect at a venue like this.

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I'm going to use Amazon's "Prime Exclusive" $60 smartphone for a month

A $60 smartphone (or rather, $50 - but hold on) is basically a headline unto itself. It is a novelty solely because of its cost. And that makes talking about it in a way that doesn’t always use “yeah, but it’s only $60” as a reflexive crutch difficult. (Which is not to say I won't do that, because I will. Probably even in this post. Several times.)

BLU’s Amazon-supported R1 HD is far from the cheapest smartphone ever. And it’s far from being a revolutionary product - the only thing interesting about it is, frankly, the business model. And in particular, Amazon’s proposition that it being a nag on your lockscreen and in your app drawer is worth $50 if you’re already a Prime member.

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