Today, Google announced it was giving up on tablets... again. I have never been a cheerleader for Google's tablets. I have never been very happy with its primary tablet platform. And I found its first tablet in three years to be a fairly massive disappointment. So, you'd think the news today that Google is, once again, killing its tablet hardware division would be of little consequence to or face much disagreement from me. After all, the Pixel Slate was a flop, likely sold poorly, and Google even cancelled the entry-level models because they were just that bad. Nothing here says success. Read More
Earlier today Google pushed out a teaser for its upcoming Pixel 4, finally showing off the phone we all knew existed in an official capacity. But however much we might see of the phone now, we still have a long wait ahead of us. Google's Pixels have always been launched in October. And frankly, sticking to that schedule again this year is a terrible idea. Read More
This might seem like wishful thinking at best, but hear me out: Google should make a photo editor. I'm not talking about the simple crop-and-filter tools built into Google Photos, but a "real" raster graphics editor with layers and more flexibility, not just to enhance the already great camera chops of the company's Pixel phones, but to help with modern productivity. The nature of work has been changing since the productivity side of G Suite — Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive — landed back in 2012, and in 2019 many modern workflows can't be completed without graphics or photo editing. Read More
There sure are a lot of gadgets around. Consumers today own laptops, desktops, tablets, televisions, e-readers, smartphones, smartwatches, smart speakers, smart displays, smart TVs, and smart everything-elses in myriad combinations. If you’re economically fortunate enough, you might own at least one of each of these categories of products, and for some categories, probably more than one.
As much as I delight in this abundance of gadgetry, sometimes I take a step back and think, isn’t this a bit much? Not because of some penchant for minimalism or an anti-consumerist attitude, but because of all the overlap. So many of these devices do the same things. Read More
Every year, just like Google conducts its I/O press conference to introduce developers to the new Android version and announce all the upcoming features and APIs it will bring, Apple does the same. Its WWDC event took place this past Monday and, as any mobile enthusiast, we tuned in to see what the company has in store for its operating systems. While the dominating rhetoric over many years has been Apple's uncanny ability to announce an Android feature that has existed for years as innovative and ground-breaking, things have changed recently. 2019 was one of the most interesting thanks to plenty of both small and big additions to iOS 13 that leave us a little doe-eyed and jealous. Read More
Yesterday, Google finally announced pricing for its upcoming Stadia platform. Upfront costs for the hardware, a monthly subscription for 4K gaming, and you still have to pay full price for new games. If you don’t look too closely, it sounds just like buying a console. Yet 'broke me' still would’ve killed for this years ago. Read More
I am far from an Apple "hater" - I applaud a great many of the company's decisions around its products and the more fully-baked state in which it tends to execute them (except keyboards, apparently). But yesterday during the onslaught of WWDC announcements, Apple quietly put the lid back on a boiling pot of a controversy, and it has seriously soured the company's messaging for me on respecting privacy.
Last year, after Apple introduced built-in screen time parental controls into iOS, it began to slowly cull similar - but not functionally the same - apps from the App Store. It did so under what, to me, is a perfectly fair piece of reasoning: these apps were all using VPNs or iOS's MDM (an enterprise device management system) explicitly for the purpose of monitoring a person's activity on their iOS device. Read More
Sometime in the last few years, "plastic" became a dirty word in smartphones. The reasons for this — like evoking the kind of cheap and unpleasant designs that defined early Android phones — are probably less important the outcomes. A whole class of materials were re-branded as low-rent, and today even many relatively affordable phones have made the switch to fully aluminum or metal-and-glass sandwiches for the superficially premium look they impart.
But Google's newest smartphone bucks the trend, and in just the right way: the Pixel 3a stands apart with its genuinely nice, unapologetically plastic design. Read More
Six months ago, I was excited: The OnePlus 6T had just been officially announced bringing in-display fingerprint sensors to the mainstream US market. This was a genuinely new technology, after all, in a field of nearly-identical gadgets. It gave us all something to talk about as we anticipated all the ways it would change The Phone Experience for the better. But, six months later I've come to the conclusion that in-display fingerprint readers, as they stand today, were a mistake. Read More
For all the fanfare ultra wide angle cameras receive on the internet, it’s getting closer that has long presented the greatest frustration in smartphone photography. Digital zoom has been the stuff of tech-savvy humor for years, a feature reserved for those so illiterate in their usage of cameras as to not understand that it achieves the same end effect as cropping an un-zoomed photo with a simple editor. Why zoom at all, we say, when the camera isn’t able to gather any more data, but instead actually destroys it, and all for the sake of a noisy, blurry photo? While this has a strong ring of “technically true,” I also believe it fundamentally ignores and misunderstands why people use zoom in the first place - and also why I believe optical superzoom systems are the future of smartphone cameras. Read More