Today, a Big Brand launched a Major Smartphone with Exciting Innovations. Even as a jaded veteran in this industry, I do always take the time to see who's doing what, what's new, and how the landscape is changing. In the past few weeks, though, the amount of attention I pay to smartphones (and tech at large) has plummeted, even the phones I'm using every day.
As I've been spending time with the Galaxy S20 and S20 Ultra, I've struggled to come up with anything to say about them that feels like it matters, even in some small way, given what's going on in the world right now. They're phones: they have screens, the battery life is irrelevant for a life lived inside, the cameras are fine, and they aren't fundamentally broken in any obvious sense. But they're too expensive, and I can't fathom telling anyone to invest in a $1000 smartphone in an environment of immense economic uncertainty. Need a new phone? My advice is to buy one you can afford (maybe a used one!), outright, or hold off until your old one gives up the ghost. If your phone sends and receives calls, messages, and can browse the internet and play videos, it's fine! It does what it's supposed to. That kind of normalcy is what so much of us need right now, and it's not something a $1000 glass and metal 5G brick is going to fundamentally transform. You don't need it.
This sentiment is obviously, in some ways, at odds with Android Police as a publication. After all, when we review a phone (which we will of course continue to do!), we do so because we hope you'll read that review. And when we write about a phone being on sale or discounted, we hope you'll buy one. We hope you'll do these things because they are what enable us to exist and pay our editors and writers, and the same is true for essentially every other online publication you read. This business model is not without its perils, and right now, we're seeing one play out: a lot of people just really couldn't care less about smartphones right now. That's a totally understandable, rational response to what's going on in the world. And while many of us are following the news far closer than is probably healthy, there are a lot of us that are also searching for distractions from that news, to provide the escapism we all need during times of anxiety. We feel isolated, and our phones are often the first responders to that feeling. And we are trying to give you tools to help with that, whether it be getting lost in the massive world of Google Street View or just binging a bunch of old movies in bed.
Of course, Android Police is not exactly historically your first resource for tips about how to find free episodes of Star Trek. But right now, we're trying to respond to this situation by not just being an endless feed of app announcements and phone rumors. Because it's clear that our collective talents and knowledge—particularly, gathering, aggregating, digesting, and analyzing information which we then give to you—are better utilized covering the topics and subject matter many people are struggling to understand and cut through the noise on right now. We of course will continue to cover the news of Google, Android, and phones at large here, and do so in the way we always have. But you'll probably see a few things interspersed in that feed which you may not have expected from Android Police in the past (and hopefully, you find them helpful, or at least recognize how others might).
Things will get back to "normal," one day. And we'll start to care more about phones and all those other gadgets again, because as long as there are technology enthusiasts, there will be enthusiasm around technology. But if you're staring at your news feed and seeing a bunch of Hands-On Announcement First Look Previews and finding you just... don't care, you're not alone! This is a time when many of us are spending a lot of our emotional and mental energy every day on ourselves, our friends and families, and on just getting a damn roll of toilet paper. We'll be here when you get back, and hopefully, you'll see us pop up and now again in those news feeds with something you might actually want to know or learn more about (like Corbin's new security update tracker, which is awesome, or some of my favorite YouTube channels, which are also awesome). In the meantime, we're going to be thinking a lot about what people want to read right now, and how we can be helpful (without being obnoxious) during a time when perhaps you're not terribly concerned with my extended 1500 word essay on why I think the smaller Galaxy S20 is the best one of the bunch (to be fair, I can't even be bothered to care enough to write it).
So, thanks for reading, everyone, and thanks for continuing to read. We all could use a little help, and even if your phone is just a phone right now, we still want AP to be a place where people can congregate and talk about the things that matter to them, phones or not.