Not long ago, a $250 unlocked smartphone was probably asking for trouble - a sketchy processor, WVGA display, potato-resolution camera, and 3G were basically what you could expect. But as technology has marched forward, component costs for things like 1080p LCD panels, 13MP camera sensors, and LTE have become much cheaper.
The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 5.5" (I know, I know, the name is ridiculous), which I will from here on call the Idol 3 for the sake of brevity and sanity, has the things you want in a modern smartphone. A big - but not ridiculously large - 1080p IPS-LCD display, a modern Qualcomm processor, dual front-facing speakers, LTE, a 13MP Sony IMX image sensor, and a respectably capacious 2910mAh battery.
The Asus Transformer line used to be a stalwart of Android tablets, and 2013's Transformer Pad TF701T was no slouch. The device had a beautiful 2560×1600 display that still holds up today, and like all previous Transformer devices, it had a detachable keyboard. It was intended as a productivity machine, but like all Android devices, the manufacturer only provided a couple years' worth of updates. The tablet went from Jelly Bean to KitKat, and there it stayed.
Fortunately custom ROMs have a way of breathing new life into old devices.
Sony has just announced the follow-up to its flagship device, the... why does it feel like I've written this story before? Oh, because I have. So a month after making its Xperia Z4 official in Japan, Sony is taking that device and releasing it with a more appropriate name for the global market: Xperia Z3+. Let's face it, the changes compared to the Z3 are minimal enough not to warrant a full number increase, so the switch back to the Z3+ is more honest on the company's behalf.
On the outside, the Z3+ looks almost exactly like the Z3, give or take a few slots and speaker grill placements.
Hi folks, this is Paul, one of the newer writers here at Android Police. I have to begin my meet-the-new-guy post by acknowledging just how cool it is that I'm writing for this site, one that I have long admired as just about the smartest and most comprehensive site of its kind. Admittedly, I haven't been able to give as much time to the site as I had hoped when they first brought me on, but I'm having so much fun contributing what I'm able, and I intend to keep at it as long as they'll have me.
I started writing for Android Police in the middle of last December, and perhaps no one was more surprised to find my byline here than me.
John Sculley, a man who served as CEO of Apple for a decade starting in 83, is working with the design firm that helped create Beats headphones to produce a new breed of smartphones for use outside of the US. The idea isn't to hit developing markets with more cheap, plastic devices that serve as hollow shells of the high-end counterparts sold elsewhere. Sculley's Obi Worldphone wants to offer young people a slightly more premium device with spiffy packaging.
Yes, the Obi Worldphone SF1 (named after San Francisco, where the Ammunition design firm is located) is a pretty generic looking black rectangle, but it comes with a unibody design supplemented by metallic accents and a raised glass display.
Back at CES earlier this year, Blu announced a handful of phones, including the Vivo Air, Studio X, and Studio Energy. Today, we're looking at the final phone from that announcement, the Life One, as well as another handset Blu has coming out in a few weeks, the Life 8 XL.
Fragmentation is the flaming torch we have to face each time a discussion about Android updates or development is started. Google releases monthly distribution numbers of its operating system, which detail the percentages of devices running a certain version of the OS that have visited the Play Store in the past 7 days. They're usually met with collective groans as Froyo and Gingerbread cling on to dear life month after month.
But as Apteligent's monthly data report points out, Google doesn't take into consideration two important factors: devices that don't have the Play Store installed (ie Chinese handsets mostly) and device usage. A phone may access the Play Store, but it may not be actively used.
Android TV is very much alive, as was made abundantly clear by the plethora of new Android TV powered televisions with Google Assistant capability shown off at CES 2018. Streaming boxes powered by Android TV, however, are conspicuously missing—the last Android TV set-top box to be released in the United States was the Xiaomi Mi Box in October 2016.
Apple TV and Amazon's Fire TV products both received hardware refreshes last September, while Roku products received hardware refreshes in October. In comparison, the three year old Nexus Player—arguably the flagship of Android TV—last received a software update in November, and will not be upgraded to Android 8.1 Oreo.
The cost of smartphones on average, it's no secret, has generally been tumbling around the world in the last couple of years. With many OEMs scrambling to cram specification sheets at lower and lower prices, competition in the low end of the smartphone segment is hotter than ever.
This isn't always how it was, though - nor how it necessarily is in every country. Here in the good old US of A, for example, good cheap smartphones still remain a relative rarity aside from Motorola's Moto G and Moto E. This is a result of market conditions created by American cell phone carriers, who subsidize or finance (JUMP!,