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Editorials

27

Google's Nest Hub could be an incredible productivity tool with a few minor updates

Smart displays are still in their infancy. While they might take inspiration from the basic internet appliances that failed to take off in the 2000s (anyone remember the Chumby One?), smart displays as we know them today started with Amazon's Echo Show. The idea of adding a screen to a smart speaker may have sounded counterproductive at the time, since they essentially are less-versatile tablets, but smart displays have been an undeniable hit with buyers.

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161

Google killing its tablets in 2019 is as shortsighted as it was in 2016

Today, Google announced it was giving up on tablets... again. I have never been a cheerleader for Google's tablets. I have never been very happy with its primary tablet platform. And I found its first tablet in three years to be a fairly massive disappointment. So, you'd think the news today that Google is, once again, killing its tablet hardware division would be of little consequence to or face much disagreement from me. After all, the Pixel Slate was a flop, likely sold poorly, and Google even cancelled the entry-level models because they were just that bad. Nothing here says success.

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140

Google teased the Pixel 4 like it's coming out soon — it'd be better if it were (opinion)

Earlier today Google pushed out a teaser for its upcoming Pixel 4, finally showing off the phone we all knew existed in an official capacity. But however much we might see of the phone now, we still have a long wait ahead of us. Google's Pixels have always been launched in October. And frankly, sticking to that schedule again this year is a terrible idea.

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31

In 2019, Google G Suite feels incomplete without a proper graphics editor

This might seem like wishful thinking at best, but hear me out: Google should make a photo editor. I'm not talking about the simple crop-and-filter tools built into Google Photos, but a "real" raster graphics editor with layers and more flexibility, not just to enhance the already great camera chops of the company's Pixel phones, but to help with modern productivity. The nature of work has been changing since the productivity side of G Suite — Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive — landed back in 2012, and in 2019 many modern workflows can't be completed without graphics or photo editing.

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62

Diminishing differentiation: Are all our gadgets making each other redundant?

There sure are a lot of gadgets around. Consumers today own laptops, desktops, tablets, televisions, e-readers, smartphones, smartwatches, smart speakers, smart displays, smart TVs, and smart everything-elses in myriad combinations. If you’re economically fortunate enough, you might own at least one of each of these categories of products, and for some categories, probably more than one.

As much as I delight in this abundance of gadgetry, sometimes I take a step back and think, isn’t this a bit much? Not because of some penchant for minimalism or an anti-consumerist attitude, but because of all the overlap. So many of these devices do the same things.

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354

25 things Apple announced for iOS 13 that we want on Android

Every year, just like Google conducts its I/O press conference to introduce developers to the new Android version and announce all the upcoming features and APIs it will bring, Apple does the same. Its WWDC event took place this past Monday and, as any mobile enthusiast, we tuned in to see what the company has in store for its operating systems. While the dominating rhetoric over many years has been Apple's uncanny ability to announce an Android feature that has existed for years as innovative and ground-breaking, things have changed recently. 2019 was one of the most interesting thanks to plenty of both small and big additions to iOS 13 that leave us a little doe-eyed and jealous.

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373

Can we talk about how Stadia absolutely nailed its pricing model? (Opinion)

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.

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111

Apple sold out kids' privacy yesterday under the guise of 'screen time' apps

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.

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131

Plastic fantastic: The Pixel 3a is a refreshing break from the delicate glass sandwich

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.

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100

In-display fingerprint readers are a mistake — right now, anyway (opinion)

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.

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