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The $60 phone, day eleven: the "slowening" begins, I take a hiatus

Aziz Ansari's cultishly popular Master of None is a show you should watch (and also a Netflix exclusive). Ansari plays Dev, a not-convincingly-struggling actor in New York City. At one point, he is cast as a doctor in a film called The Sickening. Which, in the words of the show, is a "black virus" movie. The plot is familiar: there's some kind of unstoppable super-plague that turns everyone into not-zombies, and Dev's character is the one man who is trying to stop it. He, too, of course, succumbs to The Sickening in the end.

The purposely generic and vague namesake of that fake movie, though, I find is perfectly fit to be coopted and molded for use in describing a common Android smartphone phenomenon: the slowening.

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Day three: this is a $60 Pokémon GO phone (at least until we're all tired of it)

Pokémon GO is a phenomenon. And to an extent that I think Niantic and Nintendo scarcely could have imagined. Last night, my girlfriend and I walked down the street to have a nice dinner, and on the way there I counted four or five people clearly playing GO (several were walking their dogs).

On the way back, we spotted a small crowd - perhaps a dozen or so - standing outside of a rather famous recording studio in our neighborhood. "Oh," I said to my girlfriend, "there must be some kind of event at the studio tonight." As we walked closer, I noticed these weren't the, uh, sort of individuals who I'd expect at a venue like this.

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I'm going to use Amazon's "Prime Exclusive" $60 smartphone for a month

A $60 smartphone (or rather, $50 - but hold on) is basically a headline unto itself. It is a novelty solely because of its cost. And that makes talking about it in a way that doesn’t always use “yeah, but it’s only $60” as a reflexive crutch difficult. (Which is not to say I won't do that, because I will. Probably even in this post. Several times.)

BLU’s Amazon-supported R1 HD is far from the cheapest smartphone ever. And it’s far from being a revolutionary product - the only thing interesting about it is, frankly, the business model. And in particular, Amazon’s proposition that it being a nag on your lockscreen and in your app drawer is worth $50 if you’re already a Prime member.

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Amazon is now selling unlocked phones at a discount in exchange for giving you bloatware and ads

I can't say I saw this coming: Amazon is getting into the unlocked smartphone business in a big way starting today. By selling you phones for a lower price... in exchange for bloatware and lockscreen ads. Yep, seriously.

Amazon announced today that the BLU R1 HD and the Moto G4 (not the Plus, though) are the first Amazon Prime Exclusive smartphones in the US. Both phones are $50 off their standard retail prices, making the BLU R1 HD just $49.99 and Moto G4 just $149.99 (the 32GB is $179.99). Amazon is even offering an additional $25 off the Moto G4 with offers and ads today as part of a special launch promo, bringing it down to $124.99 for Prime members.

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