Android Police

Editorials

222

Switching from Spotify to YouTube Music: Everything you need to know

I've been a loyal Spotify user since what feels like the year the service launched, and a premium subscriber since 2014. Spotify premium has tons of great extra features, and I absolutely think it's worth the money if you're considering a paid music streaming subscription. But as I've been spending a lot more time at home of late, I've started watching a lot more YouTube, and the various pre-roll and mid-roll ads were starting to grate on me. Of course, you can remove those ads—by signing up for YouTube Premium. But that would also give me access to YouTube Music, meaning I'd technically be paying for two music services.

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125

Is it too late for Wear OS?

Google's smartwatch operating system, then called Android Wear, debuted six years ago on the LG G Watch. Since then, the platform has had ups and downs, just like the full-blown Android OS it was based on. Some hardware manufacturers gave up on Wear OS, while others came in and embraced it.

Today, Wear OS is in an interesting place. It has received very few meaningful software improvements over the past year, while new watches have continued to be released quarter after quarter. That being said, with over a year since Wear OS's last real update (and it was a small one at best), I think it's finally time to ask the question: is it too late for Wear OS?

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94

T-Mobile's mid-band 5G network is now cracking 1Gbps, showing Verizon and AT&T are seriously screwed

If you ask Verizon, they'll tell you gigabit 5G is only possible with the power of (seriously difficult to deploy and expensive) mmWave technology. Recent tests of T-Mobile's fully live 5G mid-band network in New York City would like to have a word with Verizon on that point, though: testers have begun cracking the gigabit barrier on some handsets, as revealed in SpeedTest.net's latest reporting.

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68

Should you buy a Chromebook?

With more and more people buying laptops to work or learn from home, a lot of folks are probably looking into the prospect of switching to a lighter, cheaper Chromebook instead of a traditional Windows or Mac laptop. Chromebooks come at a wide range of price points and with a variety of features, but the big question for most people is about Chrome OS itself. How hard is it to switch? What are Android apps like? Does Linux support really work, and how well? Do Chromebooks make good tablets? Can I use Firefox on one? We'll cover as much of that as we can in this post.

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118

Switching from MacBook to Chromebook: Is Chrome OS good enough?

Chrome OS often gets maligned as a platform that you can't do "real work" on, and in some cases, that's true. But sometimes, you don't need a computer that does absolutely everything, and that's why I decided to give switching to Chrome OS on my laptop a try. While I've retained my iMac as a proper workstation, my aging MacBook Air was due for an upgrade, and the opportunity to switch platforms presented itself. Could a simpler, cheaper Chromebook replace my MacBook for working on the go? While I found that the answer was decidedly "no" in some situations—and that simply adapting to Chrome OS and its limitations was a huge adjustment—I do think Chrome now has a place in my workflow, albeit one that is rather hit or miss.

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40

How to turn your old Android phone or tablet into a remote control for your smart home

Making your home smarter is probably on more people's minds than ever right now, but it can become a seriously dizzying project just remembering all the various voice commands and apps involved, to the point that you might even want a dedicated piece of hardware for controlling it all. Kind of like a universal TV remote, but for light bulbs, cameras, and smart thermostats. And using an old smartphone, you basically can, just as long as it isn't too old.

One of Android's real perks is that, while many phones do stop getting updated eventually, Google supports them for a tremendously long time via Play Store and Play Services updates so that their popular apps continue to work even on seemingly ancient hardware.

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35

mmWave 5G is facing more uncertainty than ever

Millimeter wave 5G hasn't had an easy time of it, as a technology. It's been panned for fickle connectivity, extremely limited coverage, and being too thinly-deployed to even meaningfully use (not to mention the absolute nonsense conspiracies some people are spreading about it). It doesn't help that mmWave only has one truly active booster in the United States—Verizon. The company says its existing plans for 5G mmWave deployments around the country haven't changed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the current crisis raises a valid question: if we won't be gathering in large groups for the foreseeable future—let alone in stadiums or concert halls—does mobile mmWave even make sense anymore, and did it ever?

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238

Switching from Play Music to YouTube Music: What are the differences?

This week, Google announced that Play Music will die this year. To make the transition as seamless as possible, the company introduced a migration tool that allows you to move your Play Music content and recommendations to YouTube Music. I've made the switch a while back already, so I've had some time to acquaint myself with YouTube Music's approaches and quirks. The platforms have become pretty similar over the years, but there are still some substantial differences you should consider when you copy your library to the new service.

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87

Everything you've ever wanted to know about smart door locks, and why you should buy one

Our homes are increasingly filled with gadgets that connect to the internet in ways that rightly have us concerned for our privacy and security. But when discussing those concerns, it's important to keep a level head and consider just what kind of privacy and security concerns actually stem from using these products, and in what instances they might actually enhance both for you in real, tangible ways. And like surveillance cameras, we think smart locks fall into such a category: they can actually make your home safer and more secure than a traditional, "dumb" lock, and they do it all while bringing a tremendous amount of convenience.

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195

Five improvements we want from the next Google Home

The original Google Home speaker was released almost four years ago, and quite a lot has changed since then. Google has released several more smart speakers, like the Nest Mini and Home Max, and the third-party ecosystem of Google Assistant speakers has also taken off.

In all that time, the speaker that started it all hasn't received any hardware revisions. Sure, its software has been constantly improving, but it still sounds the same and has the same air freshener design. It's high time Google remodeled the Home (pun intended), and we've put together a few improvements that we'd love to see.

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