Editorials

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Google Allo hit 5 million downloads in 5 days - two months later, its momentum seems utterly stalled

On September 28th, almost two months ago to the day, Allo co-lead Justin Uberti announced the app had achieved a staggering five-million downloads in just five days since its launch. It was impressive, though not exactly unexpected for a major Google app debut. Now, once at the top of the Play Store's app rankings, Allo sits below position #200, and shows few signs of momentum.

The app's download count remains at the 5,000,000-10,000,000 milestone it achieved back at the end of September, meaning that in over sixty days Allo has not managed to achieve again what it did in the first five it was available.

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Me, a Daydream View, and a 5-hour flight: My first in-air mobile VR experience

Google's Daydream is what I would call the most travel-friendly VR solution yet. Its simple but elegant pointer-style Bluetooth controller means you aren't reaching all over the place to work the VR interface, its comfortable fabric design is tolerable for long periods of wear, and sliding the phone into the viewer is a simple no buttons, no switches affair.

So, I decided to put these qualities to test on a five-hour flight from Los Angeles to New York last week. I had a variety of games (I didn't play any), interactive experiences (many require an active internet connection), and a few movies I'd downloaded from Play Movies to watch.

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Editorial: Fact-checking the latest video rant from T-Mobile CEO John Legere

As mobile bloggers, watching national carriers with revenue in the billions snip at each other like gossiping high school students is the closest thing we have to a spectator sport. Between Sprint hiring Verizon's old spokesman, T-Mobile continuing its cloying David-versus-Goliath narrative, and Verizon using textbook straw man attacks against both of them in all those Jaime Foxx spots, we can hardly make the popcorn fast enough.

Every couple of months or so, T-Mobile CEO John Legere emerges from his fortress of solitude to directly address mobile consumers with a rant against his competitors. This time he's addressing specific points from Verizon's latest ad campaign.

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Verizon's 'unlimited' PopData scheme is all kinds of bullshit

Sprint has unlimited data. T-Mobile has unlimited data. AT&T has unlimited data. True, all of these offerings have limits on unlimited, like T-Mo's extra charges for HD video and tethering and how AT&T will only give you unlimited data if you also pay for a bloated DirecTV contract. But Verizon's staunch refusal to allow customers access to the unlimited data spigot, not to mention pushing grandfathered unlimited data customers away, has been a big point in favor of its competitors. Verizon feels so insecure about its lack of unlimited plans that its advertising tries to tell customers why unlimited data sucks.

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Samsung will need to use extreme care handling a second Note7 recall, and it will suffer regardless

The Galaxy Note7 is in full-on product free-fall right now. Retailers are pulling it off shelves, Samsung has stopped production, and the once-deemed-"safe" versions of the phone are very obviously not. Things, frankly, could not have gone worse for Samsung. The Note7's launch has been brought to a screeching halt, and while many consumers may have been OK with Samsung's first battery fire flub given the relatively quick turnaround and response, this second round simply has no hope of retaining that goodwill.

This means Samsung will have to be walking-on-glass-covered-in-vinegar-and-angry-snakes levels of careful in how it manages what happens next.

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Please don't buy a Galaxy Note7, at least for now (returning yours is a good idea, too)

Android Police rarely issues any kind of directive not to purchase a particular product. Recent news around the Galaxy Note7 is what I would deem cause for us to now do so.

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It's time to talk about Google, the Pixel phones, and feelings of abandonment

First, I'd like to invite everyone to take a deep, calming breath. I mean that sincerely, not sarcastically: Google's Pixel phones have proven rather literally to be an emotional topic in the tech community over the last few days. In looking over Android Police's comments, the sentiment around these phones has been a veritable tidal wave of negativity - and not all of it is unwarranted. There are clear and legitimate reasons to find Google's new smartphones uncompelling as a consumer.

But much of the anger, the frustration, the rage seems directed not at the Pixel phones themselves. And of that which is, is often through the lens of Nexus, not of the Pixel phones as products in their own right.

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Opinion: My early thoughts on Google's round icons (and consistency for its own sake)

By the time this post goes up, I'm sure most of our readers will have seen Google's circlified icons in the new Pixel launcher, bound for the new Pixel phones. I've been asked a few times what I think about the new launcher and, for the most part, I don't have a strong opinion. But I do have some thoughts about the circlified icons, some guesses at the rationale, and some thoughts about the downsides of consistency for its own sake. As with any written-from-the-outside post about design, I want to note up front that we aren't privy to any research, data, or other information Google used to make its decisions, so the best we can do is respectfully speculate and ponder.

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Chatting with Google: The many ways Assistant replaces or augments OK Google, Google Now, and Now on Tap

Hi Google, it's me Rita. I believe we've met before. Somewhere between Gmail, Google Photos, and Chrome, you must know a lot about me. Things I might not want others to discover, so hushhhh. (There are thousands of people reading us, let's not tell them about my love for Winnie The Pooh.) But our relationship doesn't feel equal; I barely have any information about you. Your new guy, this Assistant you've sent here to talk to me, I'd like to get to know him better. He looks a lot like the other guys you've sent before, Now and On Tap, but he seems special.

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Editorial: Google Allo looks a lot like WhatsApp, not Hangouts, and that's not necessarily a bad thing

... and a lot like Telegram. And Facebook Messenger. And plenty of other messaging apps too. But enumerating those would make for a very long title so I had to restrict it to the most popular messenger out there.

Google Allo, unlike its sister app, Duo, has its work cut out for it. While Duo doesn't have a clear competitor in the simple one-on-one mobile messaging field, especially on Android, Allo faces a roadblock of established opponents that have had years to develop their featureset, userbase, and public image. On the one hand, this gives Allo the opportunity to start fresh without any unnecessary remnants that other apps and services carry because of their older origins and the room to learn from what has and hasn't worked for them, but on the other hand, it also puts Allo at the very bottom of a very steep hill.

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