Today at Barclay Center in Brooklyn, Samsung unveiled its biggest Galaxy Note family ever — in terms of sheer phone size and variety of models. There were new features to be demonstrated, new designs to show off, and all the pomp and circumstance befitting the announcement of devices of this caliber. Yet for all Samsung's efforts, this still feels like a half-hearted retread of last year's launch. What is it so hard to make these new Notes exciting? Read More
Samsung's phones always have a little something for everyone. If you need extra storage for niche workflows or huge offline music collections, you could always pick up a Galaxy S or Note phone with microSD support, and even enjoy the anachronism of a headphone jack. That's Samsung's M.O.: build phones with everything. But over the years, that approach slowly began to change, and with the Note10, I think it's fair to say the Samsung "kitchen sink" smartphone is now firmly a thing of the past. Read More
Xiaomi has generally been the poster child for the narrative that extols and marvels at the rise of China's young smartphone manufacturers globally. Like Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo, Xiaomi sells tens of millions of phones every year, and it does so at highly aggressive prices—often so low that they're a source of novelty in and of themselves for curious westerners. But the company's stock tells a very different story: of a Xiaomi that has failed to capitalize on its advantages, and is now worth less than a social media network best known for memes and the ramblings of one Very Angry President. Read More
Today, Google fully detailed two of the as-yet-unannounced Pixel 4's features most likely to receive top billing when it debuts in October: 3D facial recognition and radar-powered gesture controls. While only the Soli radar stuff is truly novel in the smartphone industry, Google will also be launching first Android phone with truly secure face unlock rivaling that of Apple's in the iPhone X (other Android phones have used it, but Android as an OS couldn't fully take advantage of it yet).
Following on the tease of the phone and its design earlier in the summer, Google is providing an unprecedented level of insight into a product that is months away from release—the sort of move tech marketers and lawyers traditionally dread, in the event the product fails to deliver, or fails to attract sufficient hype. Read More
Can you believe it has already been nearly two years since the Google Home Mini was released? The $35 speaker finally gave Google a real competitor to the Amazon Echo Dot, and with how many times the Mini has gone on sale or been bundled with seemingly-unrelated products, having a handful of Minis in a single home has become fairly common. Read More
Over the last week, I've been revisiting the older OnePlus 6T in the wake of using the 7 Pro as my daily driver for some months. While there are still things about the older phone that I enjoy (and frankly prefer, like the smaller size), I just can't recommend the phone anymore at its current $550 price. OnePlus needs to bring that price down closer to or under $500. Read More
In a forum post on
his personal fan worship portal H4Vuser.net yesterday, RED founder and CEO Jim Jannard all but declared the company's first smartphone, the RED Hydrogen One, a failure. Well, it wasn't that RED failed (of course not!), it was that someone else failed RED. Specifically, its ODM (original design manufacturer).
Without getting too mucked up in smartphone business jargon, an ODM is basically a full-service design and firmware support company. While the specific services they provide depend on the client and product, in general, an ODM takes a conceptual product design, basic specifications, and a price point from a customer, and then creates a working smartphone which can then be mass-produced by an OEM (original equipment manufacturer). Read More
When Google first announced its Smart Display platform, one of the focal points was the kitchen. The Google Assistant would be able to find you recipes, put items into a shopping list, convert units, set timers, and answer simple cooking questions to keep your hands free for the actual task of preparing and cooking a meal. At least, that was the experience in theory. In practice, I've found my smart display to be little more than a glorified timer and music streaming box, with my smartphone continuing to be the invaluable research and display tool I rely on when cooking from a recipe or learning a technique for the first time. Read More
Huawei has a strong, well-known smartphone brand globally. And that's proving to be a liability more than an advantage these days.
When PCMag attempted to ship a Huawei P30 Pro from its UK offices to its US ones via FedEx last week (we covered it here), something annoying—but not unexpected—happened. FedEx refused to carry out the shipment and sent it back to the UK, which then caused the UK parcel handler to come up with a fake customs excuse for the failed delivery. And in the meantime, a flurry of social media help desk responses from the brands only served to confuse, not clarify, the situation. Read More
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. Read More