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Last weekend, I made my way over to the Westfield Century City Mall for a fresh pair of glasses — and an iPhone. I walked over to the Apple Store, talked to the very nice gentleman at the door... and was turned away because I didn't have an appointment to spend nearly $800. I was told I could come spend a whole lot of money, but that I'd have to wait four hours to do so. Then, I did what I should have before I set foot out the door that morning, and opened Chrome to the Apple website on my Galaxy S21 Ultra, bought the iPhone, and set it for pickup at store I'd just turned tail from — for just an hour from the current time.
I love organizing my digital (and real) life. To me, there are very few things as satisfying as neat lists, folders, and categories, that I can quickly parse in order to find what I want. While lots of apps offer a decent level of structure and customization on my phone, I still find myself looking at long lists of text-based items more often than I'd like, hoping I'd quickly spot the one I want before resorting to pulling up the search bar and typing it. A few months ago, it occurred to me that my phone has a free and built-in tool that could help me visually mark every item in a list: Emojis.
Despite spoiling other budget camera phones for many of us, the Pixel 4a is still an enthusiast phone for the most part. Samsung’s trusted Galaxy mid-rangers, on the other hand, enjoy far greater mainstream appeal and have a better chance at selling like hotcakes — something we felt strongly about last year’s Galaxy A71. The well-rounded package it offered made that phone a no-brainer for just about anybody looking for a decent phone on a budget. But in 2021, with newer Galaxy A models out, does the year-old Galaxy A71 still look like a sensible choice?
After conditioning us with years of free, enable-and-forget cloud backup, Google Photos is flipping the switch next month: Media backups will now count towards the free 15GB Google account limit, and you'll need a Google One subscription to go beyond. Time to switch, right? Maybe...not. Google Photos is arguably the most convenient cloud backup service out there, and instead of hunting for a bargain elsewhere, you might be better off just sticking with it.
Android 12 is set to be one of the biggest updates to the platform in memory — if not on a pure feature basis (though it probably is), then definitely when it comes to the overall look and interface. While I would argue that Android has hardly stagnated as much as iOS in that sense, it has become very familiar. But, as the old saying goes, "familiarity breeds contempt," and last year, many of our readers were upset to see Android 11 refrain from big visual changes. Well, you got what you asked for, and I hope you like it. For the record, I do.
Every Google I/O, we get to see some impossibly cool shit from Google that, it frequently turns out, actually was impossible (at least in the practical, scalable sense of the word "possible"). That's not to say the company intends to mislead — far from it. I/O is a playground for the incredibly ambitious and often financially untenable experiments from a company that has more money than it is reasonable for a normal person to comprehend in anything but a purely mathematical and utterly abstract sense. The kind of money that could feasibly send not just one, but an entire colony of chimpanzees to space — each in separate rockets — dressed in adorable gold lamé suits with matching limited edition Rolexes and not incur a quarterly balance sheet impact worse than a particularly nasty EU regulatory fine.
I used Google devices exclusively for years. At the time, I loved my Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, the first two generations of the Pixel (XL versions), the Nexus 9 and Pixel C tablets, and even the Pixelbook. But after a few weeks with the Pixel 3 XL, I had to face a truth that I'd been trying to deny: Google hardware makes too many compromises. I went through at least three of each Pixel, all replaced on warranty for one reason or another. And the 3 XL wasn't faring any better in the software department, with the music app constantly being pushed out of memory and the camera failing to save many of the pictures and videos that I took.
There's a reason Google has become one of the most important companies on the internet: its core products like Gmail and search are great—when was the last time you looked something up with anything other than Google? And then there's Android, which under Google's stewardship has become the largest computing platform on Earth with devices ranging in price from dirt cheap to obscenely expensive. But Google doesn't always make the right call. In fact, it has royally screwed up on numerous occasions. Here are five of the worst Google missteps, as chosen by the AP staff in a spirited Slack debate.
I've been using the Pixel 5 I bought for myself for about half a year now. I'm kind of in love with it. Which is weird, because I'm in a definite minority among the Android Police staff. I'm going to take a few minutes to completely disagree with my editor-in-chief's assessment of the latest Google hardware… it's not like it would be the first time.
Kitting out my new house with smart home gadgets has been a blast coming from the rigid confines of a rented apartment. But one particular issue affecting the simplest of all smart home hardware is driving me a little nuts. I was actually a little shocked to see it hasn't been talked about more, and while I wrestle with trying to get hardware that behaves a little better, I'd like to rant for the public record about how inconsistent smart bulbs are.