Google announced a new "unlimited" plan for its Fi cellular service this morning, and on paper, it's an improvement in most ways over the company's current pricing model for heavy duty users. Data caps have been increased to 22GB before throttling, while pricing for individuals has been lowered to $70 per month (previously, Fi maxed out at $80/mo for individual users). The catch is that it's $70 per month, full stop — Fi's dynamic data pricing doesn't apply to unlimited subscribers. For those who want to stick with Fi's old dynamic model, they'll still be limited to 15GB per month before throttling may occur, and enjoy the same per-gigabyte pricing they always have. Read More
Apple just announced its fifth-generation Apple Watch, and no surprise, it puts Google's Wear OS ecosystem to shame. Even with a headstart on wearables, Google has made such slow progress that Apple easily dominates the market. With the Series 5, Apple has adopted one of the last features that set Wear OS apart. We've waited years for Wear OS to click, and it's simply not happening. It's time for Google to rethink its approach to Wear OS before it slides completely into irrelevance. Read More
Today, Apple will announce some new iPhones. Before the year is through, it will sell tens of millions of these phones worldwide, with each sale averaging a price any other smartphone maker could only dream of. Around a month from now, Google will offer its retort, in the form of the Pixel 4. The Pixel 4 will not be the source of any grand claims about sales figures, because Google will probably be lucky to even crack a million units before 2019 ends, if the Pixel 3's struggles are any sort of evidence.
After three years and soon four generations of Pixel smartphones, Google has failed to generate meaningful marketplace traction for its in-house smartphone brand. Read More
The 5G phones are finally coming fast and furious. For example, Samsung's newly-announced Galaxy A90 5G brings some of the best of Samsung's smartphone know-how and 5G at a much more palatable price point. There's just one little catch: it's probably not going to be compatible with the majority of 5G networks in the US. And it definitely won't be the last such 5G phone that doesn't end up in the US this year or next as a result.
For a variety of reasons, most US carriers (T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon) have chosen to bank a significant part of their 5G efforts on a technology called millimeter wave, which is commonly abbreviated in the industry as 'mmWave.' This type of 5G works in an extremely high part of the RF spectrum (in excess of 24GHz, and up to 60-70GHz), and has been pushed primarily by modem and chipset developers Qualcomm as a key part of 5G's promise. Read More
The tick-tock cycle of OnePlus phones is a little deceptive. While the almost identical names might make it seem like differences are few, these “T” refreshes do sometimes bring bigger changes in design, as with the OnePlus 5T, or entirely new features, as in the case of the OnePlus 6T last year. Specs for OnePlus’ next flagship phone — likely the “OnePlus 7T Pro” if history holds — will probably be familiar, but that doesn’t mean there aren't any improvements the company can deliver, and I have some wants. Read More
Chromebooks have been shaking up the PC industry since the first CR-48 model arrived nearly nine years ago. Thanks to a combination of a custom Linux-based OS and solid state storage, Google managed to hit netbook-like prices while (thankfully) outpacing netbook-like performance. Most of the limitations that initially held back Chrome OS, like poor offline support and a limited software library, have largely gone away.
In the past two years or so, PC makers have embraced Chrome OS as more than just a platform for low-end hardware. Google's original Chromebook Pixel started the trend, but only recently have Asus, HP, Lenovo, Dell, and others finally decided to make Chrome OS laptops with comparable hardware to Windows PCs. Read More
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