Android Police

Editorials

168

Opinion: Big phones are fine but let's not go nuts, Samsung

Even if they've been arriving for plenty of folks early, today is technically Galaxy S20 day, and I've been excitedly playing with the Galaxy S20 Ultra that just landed at my own front door. For our full thoughts, you can check out the Android Police review, but I feel the need to reiterate one rather large detail to any of our readers that might still be waiting to pick one up: Even if you think you're fine with "big" phones, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is seriously on another level.

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76

America isn't ready for 5G, even if our phones are

5G will be the cause of transformative, disruptive changes across our world. At least, that was the promise. As fifth-generation wireless networks begin rolling out across the globe in 2020, though, the world's richest economy feels further behind than ever in the race to deploy new spectrum and networks to accommodate this major technical shift. And that trend shows few signs of letting up for years to come.

While American telecom operators AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint all have grand visions and big plans for 5G here in the US, none currently have the ability to deploy broad 5G networks that will be both comparable in size to and significantly more performant than their existing advanced 4G LTE networks.

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98

I wish all music and audio apps on Android wouldn't stop playback when swiped away

Several years ago, developers of music players on Android had to implement a persistent notification in order to keep their app running and music playing even when users switched to another app. With better memory management and more available RAM on modern phones, this isn't a concern anymore, and most devs have forgotten about that commodity. That has had one annoying consequence on several audio apps: If you mistakenly swipe them away, your music or podcasts or audiobooks stop playing.

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40

Hands-on with Google's second Pixel Feature Drop

Google's second Pixel Feature Drop rolled out yesterday together with the March update, and it delivers quite a few tweaks to Google's Pixels. To be honest, it's probably an even bigger deal than the first Android 11 Developer Preview when it comes to user-facing changes — there are a lot of individual improvements present. I've spent the last two days or so mucking about with this latest Pixel experience, and here are my thoughts.

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91

We'll probably see phone launch delays and shortages this year because of coronavirus

Thanks to COVID-19, aka the coronavirus, we've already seen major events in the mobile tech news space canceled. Factories across China have also been closing, seriously affecting supply chains, and manufacturers outside of the country are being affected. As fears of the virus and its impact continue to wreak havoc on the world economy, I think there's a good chance we'll see phone delays and shortages later this year.

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25

The Play Store has a problem with sleazy apps that overcharge for basic functionality

Google is right to be proud of how well it keeps a vast majority of malware and scams out of the Play Store, but there is one particular kind of misleading applications that the company has trouble dealing with. So-called fleeceware apps are overcharging customers for basic functionality, but still deliver what they promise, which technically doesn't make them scams in Google's book. Some people end up with $300+ bills for an image search app that just redirects to Google Images, which is certainly not a genuine way of making money. Google has to step up its game to tackle these kinds of unethical apps.

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152

The march toward the $2000 smartphone isn't sustainable

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.

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223

The Galaxy S20 spells the end of the headphone jack for Android

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.

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12

Android's Twitter account reminds us of the feature divide between Nest Hubs and third-party Assistant smart displays

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.

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62

Seven features we want to see OnePlus add to OxygenOS

The lightly tweaked version of Android that OnePlus phones use, called OxygenOS, has some pretty big advantages going for it. There are even things about it that we'd like to see make their way to stock Android. But there's always room for improvement, and we've got a (slightly larger) wishlist of changes that we think could make it even better.

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