This story was originally published and last updated .
Apple launched brand-new iPhone SE this spring, and it's already been pitted against the expected Pixel 4a as the budget smartphone war of the year. But it's a war I think Google has already lost. With the Pixel 4a nowhere in sight, the iPhone SE continues to win praise from critics, is selling well, and no major flaws or issues have emerged. With Google not expected to launch the Pixel 4a until later this summer, I think the budget phone battle ended before it even had a chance to begin.
Let's take the two side by side. First, you've got the iPhone SE: a 4.7-inch display, a single 12MP rear camera, "iPhone 8"-ish battery life (so, totally fine), 64GB of storage, the powerful A13 Bionic processor, gigabit LTE with dual SIM (via eSIM), Touch ID, no headphone jack, IP67 water resistance, 18W fast wired charging, and wireless charging.
We're the Android Police, and Google's mobile operating system is our raison d'être, our bread and butter, the most essential and integral part of our site's very existence. Still, it doesn't exist in isolation. Apple's iPhones continue to dominate the US market, and the new iPhone SE might have some of us wondering if the grass is any greener with iOS these days. That's subjective, and I can't really answer that for you. But I can say that the 2020 version of the iPhone SE pushes its $400 price tag further than any mid-range Android phone, and in the last month, I've grown to appreciate its value even more — though coming from Android, it is a dysfunctional relationship.
We all know Google's speech transcription technology is really, really, really good. Not only is it the best in the industry, it's doing it without a data connection: Pixels have been transcribing audio on-device for some time now, and that's been owed to Google's extremely impressive transcription algorithms that utilize machine learning hardware on its smartphones. But accuracy isn't everything when it comes to transcription, even if it the single most important feature—speed matters too.
Earlier this month, both Google and Apple rolled out universal APIs to introduce a Bluetooth-based exposure notification system to help governments perform contact tracing. But this effort of two companies working together for the public good wouldn't be any use without apps utilizing the new APIs. SwissCovid, the first large-scale app to take advantage of the new capabilities, is beginning a pilot program in Switzerland.
Chrome OS often gets maligned as a platform that you can't do "real work" on, and in some cases, that's true. But sometimes, you don't need a computer that does absolutely everything, and that's why I decided to give switching to Chrome OS on my laptop a try. While I've retained my iMac as a proper workstation, my aging MacBook Air was due for an upgrade, and the opportunity to switch platforms presented itself. Could a simpler, cheaper Chromebook replace my MacBook for working on the go? While I found that the answer was decidedly "no" in some situations—and that simply adapting to Chrome OS and its limitations was a huge adjustment—I do think Chrome now has a place in my workflow, albeit one that is rather hit or miss.
This story was originally published and last updated .
Getting over the novel coronavirus pandemic, health experts and officials say, will take an extensive contact tracing regime in order to determine who will be able to get back to normal life the fastest and who will need to stay vigilant. With this in mind, Apple and Google have announced a collaboration on universal mobile APIs to introduce a Bluetooth-based exposure notification system to help governments perform contact tracing — first through official public health apps, then, in a few months, right on the operating systems of smartphones and tablets.
The coronavirus has led to lockdowns all over the world and left many people with less to no income or in fear of a recession. Combine that with closed factories, and you have a recipe for economic impacts rippling through all industries. The smartphone market is not immune to these effects, either, and worldwide shipments have fallen by 13% year-over-year (YOY) due to coronavirus. Companies moved only 272 million units in Q1 2020, which is the lowest level since 2013.
Since it launched in 2015, Apple Music has always been one of the most widely available music streaming platforms in the world, only rivaled by Deezer. The service started out with more than a hundred countries and added a few throughout the years, but it's now going through its largest expansion: 52 new countries and territories can benefit from it, and new subscribers from those locales get a free six-month trial to test things out thoroughly before committing to a paid subscription.
Android’s built-in backup system has improved immensely over the years, but it still falls short in a number of key areas, leading to much frustration for users. Its shortcomings are even more apparent when compared with Apple’s iCloud backup for iPhones, which — while not perfect — is better at copying over app data so users don’t have to spend hours setting up a new phone.
Both Android and iOS have a couple of solutions baked in to let apps automatically verify your phone number through a single-use passcode sent over SMS. Earlier this year, Apple proposed to standardize the format of these messages to make the process even more seamless. After joining hands with Apple over their contact-tracing tool, Google is now backing Apple's proposal to make SMS OTPs (one-time passcodes) a tiny bit more secure and easier to use.