Google Play Music is on the way out and has already become inaccessible for many. A lot of people have probably long taken advantage of the migration tool and have started using YouTube Music. But there are still some key differences between the two services, and if you haven't made the switch, there are a few things to watch out for. In this article, we're going to dive into the key differences between the two services, large and small, and why they matter.
Every weekend, we assemble the latest headlines, editorials, and exclusive content into the Android Police Newsletter and send it out to thousands of readers. If you're not one of those readers, you could be missing out on the most important stories of the week, as well as content you'll only find in the newsletter, like our Pixel 5 and 4a 5G Q&A. Here's all the important stuff featured in the Android Police Newsletter from October 18, 2020.
One of my favorite features on the Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL were their telephoto camera lenses. While they lacked the kind of extended range you might find on a phone like the Galaxy Note20 Ultra, the effective 2x zoom factor coupled with Google's Super Res Zoom AI made the Pixel 4's maximum digital zoom usable, at 8x. You don't need to take my word for it, either. Here are two photos, one taken by my Pixel 4 XL, and one by the Pixel 5, at 7x (the Pixel 5 maxes at this zoom factor).
Today, Apple announced its latest family of phones: the iPhone 12, the 12 Mini, the 12 Pro, and the 12 Pro Max. One brand-new feature they all share is support for the fifth-generation mobile network technology known as 5G. For months, commentators and analysts have speculated that this fresh wireless whiz-bang could finally make 5G a going concern for smartphone buyers in the US. So, let's dive in: now that the iPhone finally has 5G, will 5G finally start to matter to ordinary people? Should you care about it?
I admit, I held hope that Google might surprise us with the Pixel 2 and 2 XL. They were only guaranteed updates until this month, but Google was able to bring the original 2016 Pixels Android 10 last year even though they weren't promised to get it. Secretly, I wanted that to be a trial run for the Pixel 2, dreaming that Google might surprise us with an extra year of updates. After all, 2017 wasn't that long ago, and the hardware has the headroom for at least another year or two of updates. But, though the phones commanded a premium $650-750 price tag at launch, they're being left behind.
Today, Google officially announced the extremely leaked Pixel 5. It's a lovely device with a very cool green colorway option, and as an unrepentant Google hardware fan, I'm struggling against the urge to buy it. Honestly, there's only one thing stopping me: the Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition, launching early next month, is the exact same price at $699. And on paper, it's a much better value.
When it launches, the Google Pixel 5 will cost $699 in the United States — easily making it the most expensive Snapdragon 765 device on the market globally. For comparison, OnePlus's Nord costs around $470 in Europe, while the US-sold LG Velvet retails for $600. Both phones have larger screens, more cameras, in-screen fingerprint scanners, and still support the actually-usable sub-6GHz 5G being deployed globally. And I think that pretty much tells us what we need to know about why the Pixel 5 is commanding such a premium — mmWave 5G no one asked for or needs.
Only the American Pixel 5 will ship with the antenna modules required for compatibility with mmWave 5G networks, and those antenna modules are expensive.
5G is a necessary and transformative technology, you'll get no argument from me. It's going to allow our cellular networks to scale to previously unimaginable levels, and connect everything from traffic lights to tractors to truck assembly plants in the process. But if you're like me, you probably know 5G first and foremost as the next generation of wireless connectivity for your smartphone. That also overwhelmingly remains the core purpose of almost any 5G deployment on earth right now, aspirational IoT marketing aside. And here's the thing about those networks: they're fairly awful to actually use right now.
Having switched between a number of 5G-ready phones and the two meaningfully extant 5G networks in the US (sorry, Verizon — if I can't see it on a 50 mile scale map, it isn't real coverage), I can say confidently that the only thing 5G has succeeded in accomplishing is making my phone less reliable and more aggravating.
This year's big Android update has finally arrived, but there's not quite the excitement around its release that was common just a few years ago. Given the current worldwide pandemic and Google's shift to working from home, it's impressive that Android 11 arrived even close to on time, but the upgrade seemingly crossed the finish line with little fanfare.