Android Police

Editorials

117

Google hardware year in review: What worked, what didn't, and what we want in 2019

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.

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229

Opinion: Chrome OS is buggier and more poorly designed than ever

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.

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67

Shady smartphone maker Saygus is back - begging investors for money

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.

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111

New Year's resolution: Make your friends and family get rid of garbage apps

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.

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117

Opinion: Android apps are not the way forward for Chromebooks

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.

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74

Using the HTC G1, 10 years later: 2008's smartphone is effectively a dumbphone in 2018

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. 

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238

We're keeping smartphones longer - and it's going to make them crazy expensive

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.

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64

The Oppo R17 Pro and OnePlus 6T are twins separated at birth - but why?

OnePlus is something of a Cinderella story in the smartphone world. It seemed to appear out of nowhere, releasing a phone with numbers that matched the best the likes of Samsung and HTC had to offer - and did it at half the price. The OnePlus One went viral in a way few products do, and the rest is history (well, as much as four years can be “history”). OnePlus just keeps improving on that formula, most recently with the excellent OnePlus 6T, which I’ve had a chance to use for the last few weeks. And it really is a great phone - we even gave it our ‘Phone of the Year’ award.

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289

Allo, is anybody out there? A brief history of Google's ill-fated messenger [Updated]

Back in April, it was revealed that development for Allo was temporarily suspended while Google redoubled its efforts at spreading the gospel of RCS. At the time, the company reassured consumers that it was still committed to supporting Allo, but the recent news of it's expected shutdown, paired with a total absence of updates for the last ten months, casts those earlier statements into severe doubt.

While Allo's fate hangs in limbo, let's take a look back at the service since its announcement, and speculate a bit on how it got here. 

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110

Beware when buying third-party Google Assistant speakers and Smart Displays, updates and features are not equal

Another year, another category of Google-compatible products has flooded the market. A few years ago, it was the Chromecast, then it was the Google Home and Home Mini, and now it's the Google Home Hub. With every first-party release comes a slew of third-party alternatives, boasting the same features, same integrations, same functions, but with different designs and prices. On paper, they should be equal to Google's, but time and time again, we've learned that they're not.

Never though have the lines blurred as much as with the Home Hub and its Lenovo and JBL brethren. They look almost the same, both on the outside and in their interface, and Google pushed them earlier than its Home Hub, advertising them and talking about them as if they were its own.

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