Google announced earlier this week that it would purchase Fitbit, the ailing manufacturer of fitness-focused wearables and smartwatches, for $2.1 billion. As tech acquisitions go, this one was small: Google valued Fitbit at a price equivalent to that of budget TV manufacturer Vizio back in 2016, a company whose value exists largely in its retail distribution network.
As I alluded to in the opening line, Fitbit isn't doing well. Its stock peaked shortly after its IPO in 2015 around $45 per share, and even after the announcement of Google's acquisition, sits at just over $7 today. This is because Fitbit's newest products aren't, well, good: its most ambitious yet, the Versa 2, has been subject to criticism almost entirely for the software it runs, while the hardware does little to set it apart meaningfully from manufacturers like Samsung and Apple. Read More
Earlier this year, I purchased a slightly-used Samsung Galaxy S10e, which has become my personal favorite phone. My last experience with Samsung phones was the 2011-era Galaxy Player 5, so I was curious to try out some of the features the company has developed since then, including DeX.
If you're not familiar with it, Samsung DeX was originally released in 2017, alongside the Galaxy S8. With the aid of a $150 dock, you could connect your phone to an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse for a PC-like experience. It was perhaps the first mass-market implementation of phone/PC convergence, after both Canonical (maker of the Ubuntu Linux operating system) and Microsoft tried to make it happen. Read More
Hello folks, Manuel here. You're probably wondering why I'm writing one of these 'Meet the new guy' pieces just now – avid Android Police readers like you have probably been reading my articles for quite a while now. But we've noticed that I didn't properly introduce myself, so this is it, finally. Read More
A lot is riding on Google's Pixel 4. Last year's Pixel 3 didn't sell well, to put it lightly, and we've made it clear that the phones need to grow up when it comes to the historical laundry list of issues that seem to debut with each new model. While you'll need to wait a bit longer for our full, embargo-bound assessment, we have some preliminary thoughts about Google's latest phone. Read More
I've been using the Pixel 4 XL for the better part of a day now. I could tell you about that experience, what it's been like, and how the phone's handled. Those kinds of articles are generally what you expect alongside a smartphone launch. But the more I use the phone, the more I realize that, like so many smartphones, the Pixel 4 XL is basically just a phone. Most phones are so much more similar than they are different in 2019, and those differences that do remain are becoming vanishingly small. Many of them also center on questions that I simply can't answer yet — questions that speak to how mature, how grown up Google's smartphone division has become. Read More
I wanted so much more for Chrome OS. But when Google announces the expected "Pixelbook Go" on October 15, I expect to be left wishing for something that will simply never be.
From the moment they came on the scene I was excited about the concept behind Chromebooks: a light operating system that can run on cheap hardware and handle just about all of a person’s computing basics. Introduced at a time when Windows Vista was still a painful and recent memory and Apple was beginning to alienate longtime OS X devotees with frustrating changes (I still recall repeatedly shaking my fist at “El Capitan”), the idea of a simplified OS on commodified and trivially replaceable hardware seemed to me to be just what the industry, and millions of consumers, needed. Read More
For the last several years, smartphone manufacturers innovated primarily in the way of camera technology, while the form factor has increasingly stagnated into a bunch of boring, glass-backed slabs. Many have been asking for more innovation, and with the Samsung Galaxy Fold we see a radical departure from the ordinary. But phones that fold are, in a way, a return to the past.
Nearly a decade ago, we had foldable phones like the Nokia E7 and T-Mobile Touch Pro 2. They were known as "slider" phones, and featured displays that folded away to reveal physical QWERTY keyboards, with email and texting first in mind use cases. Read More
After ripping up its playbook and launching a premium flagship phone with the 7 Pro this summer, OnePlus is back with an updated version, although this may be the company’s least meaningful upgrade yet. So minor are the differences between the 7T Pro and its predecessor, I find myself questioning its very existence. OnePlus “T” releases seldom offer more than iterative improvements, but even the small bump from the 6T to the 7 felt more relevant than this one. Read More
Yesterday, I posted (and shared via Android Police's official Twitter account) that Android Police will no longer be accepting any access from Andy Rubin's startup Essential. That means no more press conferences, briefings, embargoes, or review devices. This came in light of Rubin's announcement of the company's new phone, apparently called GEM.
In the time between the announcement of the PH-1 over two years ago and yesterday's tease of GEM, a significant story about Rubin was published: The New York Times reported he was paid $90 million to leave Google in connection with a serious and, according to Google's own internal investigation, "credible" allegation that he coerced another Google employee into having sexual relations with him. Read More
Microsoft fans have been holding out for a 'Surface Phone' for years. Yesterday, it could have almost appeared — if you squinted hard enough — that Microsoft gave it to them. But the Surface Duo is barely a phone at all, and hardly what rendered fantasies have imagined a Microsoft smartphone could be. It's way weirder and way more daring than that. And, counter-intuitively, a strong reason to temper your excitement for Microsoft's big leap into the world of Android. Read More