Samsung is the biggest Android OEM on the planet by a wide margin. The South Korean company even manages to outsell Apple in the smartphone market on occasion, and it has all of us to thank for it. It has also traditionally made some of the best Android-based tablets you can buy. The first Nexus 7 from Asus last year showed us what a small, inexpensive tablet could be, and Samsung released a few competent alternatives to compete with it.
You know the routine - you're browsing Android Police, scrolling through our amazing content when you lie down in bed, only to have your phone go crazy. The narrow content you were scrolling through has switched from portrait to landscape view, even though the phone is still facing the same direction relative to your head as it was before. At best, you stand your phone back up, pull down your notification shade, and press the toggle.
When it comes to audio on-the-go, the consumer market has come full circle over the last several decades: back in the 80s it wasn't uncommon to see kids running around with massive headphones attached to their skulls, rocking out to whatever crap their parents hated the most. Fast-forward twenty years, and it was all about earbuds – stuffing tiny speakers into your ear canals was the only [socially acceptable] way to listen to music.
We're at a crucial time for Android tablets. The little green robot is finally starting to gain some traction in the tablet space, manufacturers are beginning to realize what users want from their devices on many different levels (price, hardware, etc.), and the newest versions of Android work as flawlessly on large devices as they do on small.
The front runner of this Android tablet "revolution" was last year's Nexus 7, the flagship tablet from Google that literally changed the entire landscape.
You've probably seen some of those stick-on phone pouches at your local department store. It's a very simple idea: a little nylon pocket with glue on one side, intended to stick to your smartphone and carry credit/ID cards. I've tried several in a never-ending quest to banish my wallet, but they were all cheap, with poor glue and easily-torn material. Then I chanced $12.99 on the Sinji Pouch.
This little guy has changed my daily routine for the better.
I like tablets, and I love tablet apps. Don’t take that the wrong way - I love my Nexus 4, and I use it constantly, but there’s something different about tablets. A large, beautiful screen filled by an app that really shows off the functionality that comes with Android's design language is a great experience. Make that tablet super portable, fast, and priced right, and you’ve got my heart.
Okay, maybe that’s not all it takes for a tablet to win my heart.
When I first experienced the NVIDIA Shield's ability to stream games from a PC to the handheld unit wirelessly at CES back in January, I was floored. While it is remarkably similar to the Splashtop game streaming functionality NVIDIA demoed at CES 2012 (which never really came to fruition), Shield streaming feels like an even bigger step forward. This is basically NVIDIA's "look at what we can do" technology - it's what happens when they can have a high degree of control over the gaming experience.
Rumors about Chrome OS running on a tiny HDMI stick started leaking out a few months ago, but we were all wrong about what it was going to be. The Chromecast is not a shrunken down Chromebox – it's not even really a Chrome OS device in the strictest sense. The Chromecast is Google's latest attempt to be invited into your living room. It also might be the first one to succeed.
I really like the HTC One. I also really like the Galaxy S4. And the Optimus G Pro. And that's because there are a lot of great Android smartphones out there right now, and really, none of the very best ones are actually bad (nor are any of them perfect). And if I were to ask you, our readers, what would be the first thing you could change about any of them - if it could be just one thing - a few months ago the consensus likely would have emerged as "give them stock Android."
Well, we're two out of three - the HTC One and Galaxy S4 are both available in stock Android iterations, aka Google Play Editions, and are yours for the buying (if you're in the United States - admittedly a major caveat).
NVIDIA’s SHIELD is a gaming device that defies classification. The full-sized controls and Android software make it more than a portable gaming device, at least on paper, but it doesn't compete with (or complement) more conventional mobile form factors. SHIELD is something entirely new.
The only way to evaluate a gaming machine is on how it plays games, and in that respect, SHIELD is amazing... at least in a few specific circumstances.