Whether it folds or it's just the size of a microhome, high-end smartphones are hitting an all-time high many of us aren't exactly loving: price. Now, this isn't a post about singling out Samsung in particular—they're merely on the cutting edge of what is a larger and growing trend. When Apple launches its first 5G iPhones later this year, you can bet your AirPods they'll come with an appropriately next-generation price hike. But at what point is enough finally enough for the mass market?
One thing I think we can all agree on is that technology, and microprocessors in particular, have resulted in a tremendous and demonstrable trickle down effect in the marketplace, driven by both commoditization and innovation. Read More
Announced just earlier today, Samsung's Galaxy S20 series of phones don't have a headphone jack. This isn't the first flagship device from Samsung to skip out on the trusty, universal 3.5mm connector — the Galaxy Note10 holds that honor — but this is a much bigger deal. The Note series may be breaking sales records, but the "base" Galaxy S is the Samsung phone. For many customers, it's Android's official ambassador in the mobile world, representing the default experience, and the fact that it just lost the dependable headphone jack probably spells the eventual end of the connector for all Android phones everywhere, forever. Read More
Google isn't the best at explaining its own products. Yet another example of this happened only a few days ago, as the official Android Twitter account posted about a Google Assistant feature that seemed to be new at first glance. However, it ended up being a reminder that not only is Google bad at explaining what its products do, but also that the feature divide between the Nest Hub and third-party Assistant smart displays is alive and well. Read More
Until recently, the words "Samsung" and "timely updates" were never uttered in the same sentence, unless you were emphasizing the contradiction between them. The Korean behemoth had a reliable, albeit very leisurely update schedule, pushing Android users who valued prompt access to security patches and new features away. With Android 10, things changed drastically, and Samsung has been impressing us more and more, with both major OTA rollouts and monthly security patches. Whether it's due to a different strategy, new team or leadership, Android's Project Treble, or some magical potion, Samsung is quickly becoming the OEM to beat for Android updates and we can't help but applaud its recent efforts. Read More
Let me preface this post by saying that I love Android's notification shade. I love the toggles for things like airplane mode and dark theme, I love the platform's increasingly rich and smart notification quick actions, notification bundling, and just how Android handles notifications in general. But after three months of using the Pixel 4 XL, I've come to an increasingly annoying realization: the notification shade is having absolutely ruinous effects on the phone's facial recognition performance, something I've never experienced on the iPhone. And the simple reason is fingerprints.
Sensors that have to see things don't like fingerprints, for obvious reasons. Read More
Google collects vast amounts of speech data across all of its products, and while it hasn't been too transparent about the practice, we as users profit from it for the most part. Speech recognition has consistently gotten better over the years, which has allowed impressive sci-fi tech like smart speakers to enter our homes. There's one department where Google needs to step up its game, though: multilingual speakers are having a hard time using more than one language on any Google product. Read More
It takes a lot of applications to build an ecosystem. Google has all the essentials down — email, calendar, contacts, productivity applications, and so on — but the company has always struggled with creative tools. Most notably, Google is still lacking a proper video editor for its own operating systems, which is becoming even more of an issue as high-end Chromebooks gain momentum. Read More
Smart home gadgets are raising a lot of questions about privacy, security, and data mining these days. Speakers that could spy on what you're saying, cameras that could upload your videos to unprotected servers, products from no-name companies that could track your usage or location, and worse yet, devices from lazy providers that could introduce a vulnerability to your network, we've seen it all. In that scary context, it's hard to entrust a connected gadget with your front door lock, the very thing that makes you feel safe inside your own home. Every time I've mentioned smart locks online and in real life, I've gotten the same visceral reaction: No, just no. Read More
I don't think it meant to, but Google has backed itself into a corner with the anticipated Pixel 4a. The previous Pixel 3a was a smash-hit of a phone, doubling the company's phone sales amid some serious troubles. The 3a was so great it even earned our 2019 Smartphone of the Year accolade over the company's "flagship" Pixel 4 series. But based on what we've heard so far, I think the upcoming Pixel 4a could be a disaster for Google. Read More