Android Police

Editorials

6

Red Magic 3S not-review: I like this silly phone

I'll admit, I thought that Android gaming phones were a stupid idea. But after using the Red Magic 3S off and on over the last month, I'm happy to say that my attitude was wrong. That's not to say I'd recommend using one as your only phone — I wouldn't — but there's definitely a point to gaming phones, and the Red Magic 3S has a lot of potential, packing a great software experience together with price-defying hardware. I just wouldn't buy one to use as my only phone.

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71

Google hasn't updated Android's version distribution numbers in six months, avoids getting owned in Apple keynotes

One of our traditions here at Android Police was covering the monthly updates to the Android Platform Distribution statistics. The page revealed which versions of Android had how much market share, allowing us to track how quickly (or more often, how slowly) a system update was rolling out. However, the page has almost entirely been neglected for over a year.

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134

Super expensive folding phones distract from a simple truth: phones are boring now

Smartphones have become boring. And I don't mean that in some kind of ultra-enthusiast, super geeky, and technical way. I mean that, for most people, smartphones are not an interesting, let alone exciting, thing. Most people look at buying a new smartphone like buying a new pair of running shoes: you read some reviews on a few blogs, you browse Zappos, maybe you even go down to a local athletic store and try some on. In the end, you buy some shoes, you keep them for a couple years (or longer, I'm not judging!), and you replace them when they seem worn out.

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294

There just aren't enough good reasons to upgrade to the Pixel 4

The Google Pixel 4 has been out for a few weeks now, and even though I have a review unit in my hand, I'm in no rush to swap out my SIM from my Pixel 3. I will eventually switch phones "for science," as we often say, to justify our choices working in this industry. But it's hard for me to recommend that anyone else do the same. The Pixel 4 may boast some new features, but nothing screams, "run out and upgrade now!"

If you were to ask me if the Pixel 4 is worth the upgrade, I'd say it isn't.

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32

Meet the new guy: Jules Wang

Time for the obligatory autobiography, my news editor Stephen Schenck texts me in Slack. I dread writing about myself, especially under the pretense of doing it for work. It's about as fun and pleasurable as standing up to introduce yourself at camp and coming up with three random facts on the fly. And yet, here I summit my cowardice and submit to you my introduction: I am Jules Wang and I am with Android Police.

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526

I'm an Android user who tried the Apple Watch for a month — it's now the only smartwatch I'll recommend

Smartwatches as a concept are not something I've ever really been able to get into. It turns out that's mostly because they're all pretty terrible — once you've tried an Apple Watch.

Two years ago, I tried using an iPhone as my full-time smartphone for the first time ever. I wasn't a complete iOS novice — I've owned iPads in the past — but it was the first time I'd actually had to live inside Apple's walled garden. There were a lot of things I didn't like about the experience, and many of them still hold true today. But the Apple Watch was new territory for me.

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468

Google is trying to build phones for "80% of users" — and it's leading to stupid mistakes

This weekend, I watched a clip of The Verge’s podcast featuring one of Google’s product managers for the Pixel 4, Isaac Reynolds, discussing the decision to omit 4K 60FPS (and 4K 24FPS) video recording from the phone. In and of itself, I don’t think it’s a very interesting topic, and I don’t believe anyone thinks Google made the “right” call in excluding it. But Reynolds’ answer regarding that decision hinges on an argument Google has abused for years: 80% of people will never use this feature.

I suspect the 80% rule (which I'm guessing is also the 85/90/95% rule, depending on who you ask) is an unspoken philosophy at Google.

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243

Opinion: Screw the carriers, Google should roll out RCS messaging worldwide

I don’t know how many people have taken advantage of the RCS “hack” recently discovered in Google Messages, which allows almost anyone to hop onto Google’s Jibe servers for RCS/Chat messaging, but it must be a pretty insane number given the attention our walkthrough has received. For some of those folks, this last week has been a source of anxiety, too, as all of us enjoying the new “Chat” features are left wondering whether or not Google will let this carrier circumvention fly. There was even a small hiccup that stirred up some panic. But if Google really wants what is best for consumers, it should do more than just ignore this apparent workaround.

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222

Buying Fitbit won't save Google's failing Wear OS

Google announced earlier this week that it would purchase Fitbit, the ailing manufacturer of fitness-focused wearables and smartwatches, for $2.1 billion. As tech acquisitions go, this one was small: Google valued Fitbit at a price equivalent to that of budget TV manufacturer Vizio back in 2016, a company whose value exists largely in its retail distribution network.

As I alluded to in the opening line, Fitbit isn't doing well. Its stock peaked shortly after its IPO in 2015 around $45 per share, and even after the announcement of Google's acquisition, sits at just over $7 today. This is because Fitbit's newest products aren't, well, good: its most ambitious yet, the Versa 2, has been subject to criticism almost entirely for the software it runs, while the hardware does little to set it apart meaningfully from manufacturers like Samsung and Apple.

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35

Samsung DeX remains an interesting concept with rough edges, even after three years

Earlier this year, I purchased a slightly-used Samsung Galaxy S10e, which has become my personal favorite phone. My last experience with Samsung phones was the 2011-era Galaxy Player 5, so I was curious to try out some of the features the company has developed since then, including DeX.

If you're not familiar with it, Samsung DeX was originally released in 2017, alongside the Galaxy S8. With the aid of a $150 dock, you could connect your phone to an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse for a PC-like experience. It was perhaps the first mass-market implementation of phone/PC convergence, after both Canonical (maker of the Ubuntu Linux operating system) and Microsoft tried to make it happen.

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