In 2019, the most talked-about feature of any new smartphones is not the camera, processor, modem, or software. It is the shape and size of the area reserved for the sensors and cameras on the front - and it is time to just stop it.
Notches, punch holes, screen cutouts - whatever the hell you want to call them - are part of phones for the time being. They’re part of phones because the companies making the phones are desperate to find ways to excite us with new visual elements that keep our historically low attention spans long enough to sell us thousand dollar glass and aluminum bricks. Read More
5G is either the biggest change to our wireless world in decades or the most overhyped marketing spin from carriers in as long - and it all depends on just who you’re asking. Cynical tech journalists like me have real reason to downplay the technology’s importance and relevance to ordinary consumers, but we needn’t get into all that here. Carrier and phone manufacturers, meanwhile, believe it will usher in a new age of devices and use cases we can’t yet fully imagine. The reality is probably somewhere in the middle - closer to the cynical end, I’d argue! - but I think regardless of how 5G plays out, it means very bad things for struggling phone manufacturers. Read More
It's time to bid farewell to Google's audio streaming dongle, the Chromecast Audio. After a significant price drop late last year, its stock has since been depleted in the Google store and at Best Buy and other retail locations, and there are already eBay listings up asking for twice what the device was worth in its heyday. Read More
Google’s hardware division is a rare success story inside a remarkably successful company - and one that has taken the better part of a decade to meet that definition. Its ambitions in the physical product space have grown from a geeky internet sideshow into a full-scale retail assault, and 2018 saw that ascendance continue. For all the naysayers it’s had - and there have been many - Google continues to position its hardware portfolio exactly where it needs to be: in stores. Chromecasts and Home Minis litter hundreds of Walmarts, Targets, and Best Buys, and Pixel smartphones are in Verizon locations across the country. Read More
I've used Chromebooks off and on for years. I used the first Dell Chromebook 11 for much of high school, then I purchased an ASUS C302 last year. The C302 is still one of the best laptops I've ever used, and that's mostly thanks to how Chrome OS has evolved over the past few years. It's no longer a browser-only thin client — it can run Android apps, Linux programs, and powerful web applications. Read More
While it wasn't pointed out to us until a couple of weeks ago, apparently smartphone non-maker Saygus published a blog post back in November of 2018, begging investors for cash. It's exactly the sort of desperation we'd expect of a company that announced a smartphone three years ago then never shipped it to anyone. And yet, Saygus came back again, and again, and again with excuses, telling would-be customers that their phone was only getting better, just a little delayed, and would be out shortly. It never launched.
The blog post on the company's website, presumably authored by Saygus founder and CEO Chad Sayers, says that the Saygus phone's launch is still "anticipated," which is probably the vaguest promise issued yet about whether or not the phone will actually ship. Read More
Many of you are visiting family for the holidays, which means you're sharing meals, telling stories, and exchanging gifts. In fact, quite a few of you may be giving phones or tablets to family members this year. If you're a regular around here, you're probably also known as the resident gadget expert, an honor that is both a compliment and a curse — you know what I'm talking about. While you might be trying to avoid impromptu tech support work, we would like to encourage taking a few minutes to do something for the greater good: Clean the trash apps from your family members' devices. Read More
Chrome OS was ahead of its time when it was first introduced in 2011. That's not to say Chrome OS was a revolutionary breakthrough, akin to the original iPhone, but rather that it was built for a future that didn't exist yet. Web apps were commonplace in 2011, but they could only do a tiny fraction of what traditional desktop programs were capable of. Many early Chromebooks had limited amounts of free 4G data to compensate for poor offline support in web apps. Read More
As you may have noticed, this post originally appeared on Android Police earlier in 2018. As much of the AP team is away for the holidays this week, we're showcasing some of our favorite posts of the year. Enjoy!
Going into this series, I hoped I’d get back to the T-Mobile G1/HTC Dream and be able to romantically wax about where Android came from. How the G1, though dated, still held up the promises made by Google's first Android effort back in 2008. Analytically, it's all true, but time has not been kind to the phone, and using it has made for a pretty rough week, even by my recent standards. Read More
Every two years, we buy a smartphone. At least, that’s what we’ve been told is reasonable to expect of the Average Person. And while reality means that this figure varies widely between any given two people, we do know that the companies that make and sell smartphones have this expectation. That, once a smartphone is two years old, most people are probably ready to get rid of it for something better. But there’s a wrinkle: everything we know tells us that’s changing.
In the early days of the iPhone - when it was exclusive to AT&T - the carrier’s upgrade policy allowed you to buy a new device every two years at a substantial discount in exchange for locking yourself into another two years of service. Read More