They weren’t letting cars in anymore — we’d have to take the crowded train, get off at the next station, and make our way to the hired driver. This was the greeting I received when I stepped off my flight in Hong Kong on a Monday night, as a fourth day of protests at the city’s international airport reached a breaking point. It was a little surreal. I walked past chanting (but exceedingly polite) protestors clad in black, most of their faces concealed by gas masks or bandanas, stocked with plenty of literature about their city and their concerns about its future. Read More
You've been introduced to the Galaxy Note10 and Note10+. The question Samsung is asking now is "Will you buy one?" Maybe it might be a better idea get the Galaxy Note9 instead — save a few hundred dollars and get most, if not all of what you wanted from a Note. Well, we've set up a few points of contrast that might help you steer your money in the right direction. Read More
Today at Barclay Center in Brooklyn, Samsung unveiled its biggest Galaxy Note family ever — in terms of sheer phone size and variety of models. There were new features to be demonstrated, new designs to show off, and all the pomp and circumstance befitting the announcement of devices of this caliber. Yet for all Samsung's efforts, this still feels like a half-hearted retread of last year's launch. What is it so hard to make these new Notes exciting? Read More
Samsung's phones always have a little something for everyone. If you need extra storage for niche workflows or huge offline music collections, you could always pick up a Galaxy S or Note phone with microSD support, and even enjoy the anachronism of a headphone jack. That's Samsung's M.O.: build phones with everything. But over the years, that approach slowly began to change, and with the Note10, I think it's fair to say the Samsung "kitchen sink" smartphone is now firmly a thing of the past. Read More
Xiaomi has generally been the poster child for the narrative that extols and marvels at the rise of China's young smartphone manufacturers globally. Like Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo, Xiaomi sells tens of millions of phones every year, and it does so at highly aggressive prices—often so low that they're a source of novelty in and of themselves for curious westerners. But the company's stock tells a very different story: of a Xiaomi that has failed to capitalize on its advantages, and is now worth less than a social media network best known for memes and the ramblings of one Very Angry President. Read More
Today, Google fully detailed two of the as-yet-unannounced Pixel 4's features most likely to receive top billing when it debuts in October: 3D facial recognition and radar-powered gesture controls. While only the Soli radar stuff is truly novel in the smartphone industry, Google will also be launching first Android phone with truly secure face unlock rivaling that of Apple's in the iPhone X (other Android phones have used it, but Android as an OS couldn't fully take advantage of it yet).
Following on the tease of the phone and its design earlier in the summer, Google is providing an unprecedented level of insight into a product that is months away from release—the sort of move tech marketers and lawyers traditionally dread, in the event the product fails to deliver, or fails to attract sufficient hype. Read More
Can you believe it has already been nearly two years since the Google Home Mini was released? The $35 speaker finally gave Google a real competitor to the Amazon Echo Dot, and with how many times the Mini has gone on sale or been bundled with seemingly-unrelated products, having a handful of Minis in a single home has become fairly common. Read More
Over the last week, I've been revisiting the older OnePlus 6T in the wake of using the 7 Pro as my daily driver for some months. While there are still things about the older phone that I enjoy (and frankly prefer, like the smaller size), I just can't recommend the phone anymore at its current $550 price. OnePlus needs to bring that price down closer to or under $500. Read More
In a forum post on
his personal fan worship portal H4Vuser.net yesterday, RED founder and CEO Jim Jannard all but declared the company's first smartphone, the RED Hydrogen One, a failure. Well, it wasn't that RED failed (of course not!), it was that someone else failed RED. Specifically, its ODM (original design manufacturer).
Without getting too mucked up in smartphone business jargon, an ODM is basically a full-service design and firmware support company. While the specific services they provide depend on the client and product, in general, an ODM takes a conceptual product design, basic specifications, and a price point from a customer, and then creates a working smartphone which can then be mass-produced by an OEM (original equipment manufacturer). Read More
When Google first announced its Smart Display platform, one of the focal points was the kitchen. The Google Assistant would be able to find you recipes, put items into a shopping list, convert units, set timers, and answer simple cooking questions to keep your hands free for the actual task of preparing and cooking a meal. At least, that was the experience in theory. In practice, I've found my smart display to be little more than a glorified timer and music streaming box, with my smartphone continuing to be the invaluable research and display tool I rely on when cooking from a recipe or learning a technique for the first time. Read More