Android has become the most popular computing platform on the planet, but Google has had problems selling very many Android phones itself. It tried for years to make Nexus devices "a thing," but they never caught on outside the nerd demographic. With the debut of the Pixel program in 2016, the company took a different approach—it started building smartphones with consumers in mind. Google hasn't done everything perfectly, but it's gotten enough right that the first and second generation Pixels have been relatively easy to recommend. That brings us to the third-gen Pixels.
The Pixel 3a debuted at Google I/O 2019, and it was closer to budget smartphone nirvana than any phone in the US that came before it. That was, until Apple responded with the iPhone SE. The Pixel 4a is Google's counterpunch, and while many would argue it's an apples to oranges (or Pixels) comparison, I think the Pixel 4a actually comes out on top of the iPhone SE in a lot of important ways.
Spending $1000 on a smartphone is something we'd all probably have balked at just five years ago. How times have changed.
The Galaxy Note9 is Samsung's first mainstream handset to crest the magical four-digit mark, and I sincerely doubt it will be the last. Thousand dollar phones are the new normal, and for all that is excellent about the newest Note, that we've reached this point still seems fairly inevitable. Last year's Note8 was $930, this year's is $70 more than that - and it's easy to see why: The Note9 starts at 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM, and packs in a larger 4000mAh battery.
Good specs in a (relatively) cheap package has been OnePlus' schtick since the original OnePlus One, and with few flops it's stuck to that formula, bringing us to the OnePlus 6T. Deep down inside, it's basically just a tweaked OnePlus 6, dropping the headphone jack for an in-display fingerprint reader, bigger battery, smaller notch, and a handful of software improvements.
In a landscape where Google's latest phones start at $800, I think the $549 6T is a legitimate Pixel 3 alternative, delivering fantastic performance and much-improved photos with fewer subjective problems. You'll still envy the Pixel 3's camera and Call Screen, though.
Pixel fever is sweeping the internet, and there's no cure. We're all doomed to suffer until Google unveils these hotly anticipated devices, but there are some new details today courtesy of VentureBeat to tide you over. At the top of the list, there's a picture (above) of the smaller 2017 Pixel. It's a mix of old and new.
Besides a bevy of new features, Android's update to 4.4 brought forth a ton of tweaks to the interface through GEL launcher and a fresh round of updated stock apps. There's little doubt Android's user experience and overall design paradigms are continuing to evolve, becoming more refined, usable, and useful. We covered most of the changes to the interface in Getting to Know Android but, as with any major update, new changes come with new opportunities for error.
There are plenty of incongruences, inconsistencies, and lingering design problems in Android 4.4, and just like previous entries in the Stock Android Isn't Perfect series, we'll be running through those of note.
Cloud gaming isn't a new idea. Companies like OnLive (RIP) have been trying to make it work for the better part of a decade. Google's effectively limitless resources and software wizardry make it an ideal fit to work the kinks out of such a complicated problem, and with Stadia, it seems it may have done just that. In my time with the platform, streaming performance has been wildly impressive — but lackluster day-one game selection and plenty of half-baked features make for a rocky start for the fledgling gaming platform.
The Google Pixelbook is a truly excellent piece of hardware, as I stated in my review of it over two months ago. The refrain so often heard about Chromebooks, though, is that Chrome OS's limited application ecosystem prevents it from being a "serious" laptop operating system. As someone who frequently travels and has to be mobile as part of my job, I thought I'd put Google's laptop to the test in a live environment: CES.
Now, CES isn't quite the on-the-ground reporting slog it once was for Android Police. The number of smartphones announced at the show is tiny, and much of our work stems from various briefings and meetings rather than rubbing shoulders with attendees on the show floor.
It's safe to say that none of Google's products have been spoiled like the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Beyond the usual press renders and wild sightings, a number of stolen Pixel 3 XL units ended up in the hands of bloggers. There was almost nothing left to the imagination by the time Google officially showed off the pair of phones, but the company still had to go through the process of formally introducing the two devices today.