Yesterday, Google finally announced pricing for its upcoming Stadia platform. Upfront costs for the hardware, a monthly subscription for 4K gaming, and you still have to pay full price for new games. If you don’t look too closely, it sounds just like buying a console. Yet 'broke me' still would’ve killed for this years ago. Read More
I am far from an Apple "hater" - I applaud a great many of the company's decisions around its products and the more fully-baked state in which it tends to execute them (except keyboards, apparently). But yesterday during the onslaught of WWDC announcements, Apple quietly put the lid back on a boiling pot of a controversy, and it has seriously soured the company's messaging for me on respecting privacy.
Last year, after Apple introduced built-in screen time parental controls into iOS, it began to slowly cull similar - but not functionally the same - apps from the App Store. It did so under what, to me, is a perfectly fair piece of reasoning: these apps were all using VPNs or iOS's MDM (an enterprise device management system) explicitly for the purpose of monitoring a person's activity on their iOS device. Read More
Sometime in the last few years, "plastic" became a dirty word in smartphones. The reasons for this — like evoking the kind of cheap and unpleasant designs that defined early Android phones — are probably less important the outcomes. A whole class of materials were re-branded as low-rent, and today even many relatively affordable phones have made the switch to fully aluminum or metal-and-glass sandwiches for the superficially premium look they impart.
But Google's newest smartphone bucks the trend, and in just the right way: the Pixel 3a stands apart with its genuinely nice, unapologetically plastic design. Read More
Six months ago, I was excited: The OnePlus 6T had just been officially announced bringing in-display fingerprint sensors to the mainstream US market. This was a genuinely new technology, after all, in a field of nearly-identical gadgets. It gave us all something to talk about as we anticipated all the ways it would change The Phone Experience for the better. But, six months later I've come to the conclusion that in-display fingerprint readers, as they stand today, were a mistake. Read More
For all the fanfare ultra wide angle cameras receive on the internet, it’s getting closer that has long presented the greatest frustration in smartphone photography. Digital zoom has been the stuff of tech-savvy humor for years, a feature reserved for those so illiterate in their usage of cameras as to not understand that it achieves the same end effect as cropping an un-zoomed photo with a simple editor. Why zoom at all, we say, when the camera isn’t able to gather any more data, but instead actually destroys it, and all for the sake of a noisy, blurry photo? While this has a strong ring of “technically true,” I also believe it fundamentally ignores and misunderstands why people use zoom in the first place - and also why I believe optical superzoom systems are the future of smartphone cameras. Read More
Google Assistant knows a surprising number of things. Ask it for the distance between the earth and the moon or who won the last Superbowl, and it will give you the correct answer right away. But like any virtual assistant, there are times when it just doesn't get it. It either takes things too literally or comes up with a completely unexpected answer. We've collected a few of these instances over the past months and thought we'd brighten up your weekend with them. Read More
Up until recently, I’ve felt like every Android-based smartwatch available had been too big for me and too uncomfortable to wear for extended periods. I swore off the Wear OS platform after the LG Watch Style I was wearing couldn’t even make it through the first day of Google I/O. Read More
Following a report from 9to5Google this morning, we were able to independently corroborate that T-Mobile plans to sell Google's current Pixel 3 and 3 XL smartphones, as well as add that the upcoming (and still unannounced) Pixel 3a and 3a XL will also be available in T-Mobile stores. The exact sale date is unclear, but my guess is that it will be timed against the launch of the new 3a devices, which we're expecting on May 7th. T-Mobile being added to the Pixel roster isn't just news in the sense of T-Mobile, though - it's a pretty big deal in regard to the larger strategy with the Pixel brand and what the end of Verizon exclusivity means, as well. Read More
Verizon flipped the switch on its 5G network last week, a few days earlier than it previously promised. This is the first commercial 5G network in the US that you can actually use (AT&T doesn't count), although you'll need the Moto Z3 and the pricey 5G Moto Mod. Carriers will spend the next several months hitting you over the head with 5G marketing, but is it all hype? I had a chance to take Verizon's millimeter wave 5G network for a spin, and it did work better than I expected in some ways. However, it's a long, long way from being a good experience. Read More