Android Police

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editorial

17

The latest OnePlus leaks have me worried

OnePlus is gearing up for two new Nord-branded phones in the US market, according to leaks from Android Central in the last month, including what might be its first entry-level phone. If the details regarding the ~$200 "Clover" and sub-$400 "Billie" are both true (and they probably are), then OnePlus might have a problem on its hands. While the company was once known for its massively disruptive influence in the flagship space, now it's settled comfortably into the market it once upset. And its usual strategies won't work here.

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75

I did my entire job from the Galaxy Z Fold2 for a day

I really can't stress enough how game-changing folding phones are. I know they're frequently (and fairly) criticized for things like display durability and price, but once you actually use one and understand the experience, something just clicks — or, at least, it did for me. They're still not for everyone, but if you absolutely need to maintain productivity on the go, then the Z Fold2 will be as disruptive to your idea of work as the early Blackberry phones were. In fact, to prove a point, I was able to do my entire job here at Android Police from the phone for most of a whole day.

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63

The Note20 Ultra feels like the end of the smartphone's gilded age

The Galaxy Note20 Ultra is big, probably very fast, and has Samsung's most advanced stylus tech ever. Add in the obligatory 5G tax, and everyone knew this was going to be a very, very expensive smartphone: it is wholly unsurprising.

In fact, I am a bit surprised that it doesn't cost more. The $1400 Galaxy S20 Ultra is in no significant way more capable than the new Note. It actually has a less technologically advanced display (with an older version of Gorilla Glass), lacks the Note20 Ultra's laser autofocus, comes with a slightly slower chipset, and has an inferior iteration of Samsung's "Space Zoom" camera.

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20

Google took one great idea from the iPhone SE this year: Launch quietly

A whole lot is going on right now, and not just when it comes to phones. Life is much more complicated in 2020, and it can be hard sometimes to narrow your focus on the hot new gadgets, even when it's your job. Phone announcements are always exciting — and, for me, a little bit stressful — but yesterday's almost low-key launch of the Pixel 4a was unpretentious, a little bit familiar, and down-right refreshing.

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87

The OnePlus Nord might save Europe from the iPhone SE

With the iPhone SE making many Android users switch platforms, it was just a question of time until we'd see a response from Android manufacturers. In Europe, that might just be the OnePlus Nord. The €400 phone undercuts the €480 iPhone by €80, and its modern, sleek exterior stands in stark contrast to Apple's tried-and-true iPhone 6 look. It might just become the reset button for the Android midrange market.

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186

Google's 2020 smartphone strategy looks like a mess

It sure looks like the Google Pixel smartphone lineup is about to get weird. Based on what we know so far, it looks like there will be a Pixel 4a, a Pixel 4a 5G, and a Pixel 5. A defunct Pixel 4a XL is out of the picture, and there was never even a leak suggesting the existence of a Pixel 5 XL to begin with. This has rightly left many bewildered: just what is Google trying to accomplish here? While I won't claim to have all the answers, I do think there's a lens worth interpreting this through, and that lens is Google's Silicon Valley rival, Apple.

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461

Ads are taking over Samsung's Galaxy smartphones — and it needs to stop

I've used a Samsung Galaxy smartphone almost every day for nearly 4 years. I used them because Samsung had fantastic hardware that was matched by (usually) excellent software. But in 2020, a Samsung phone is no longer my daily driver, and there's one simple reason that's the case: Ads.

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160

Apple is doing Google a huge favor with iOS 14

While WWDC contained some truly blockbuster announcements this year, iOS still tends to be the biggest takeaway for consumers at Apple's annual developer conference. And with iOS 14, we're seeing Apple borrow more than ever from the biggest competitor to its mobile OS, Android. iOS 14 really does seem intent on reaching feature parity with Google's platform, and while that's no doubt driven by a desire to bring more features and functions to Apple's smartphones—and keep people buying them—there's also a real argument to be made that this is a good thing for Android, too. As the two platforms become more similar, Android will likely start to benefit from an increased awareness among ordinary consumers that their phones can do things like use homescreen widgets or set a different default browser.

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221

Apple's chipset advantage has me more jealous than ever

A couple of months back, word got around that Google was designing its own smartphone chipset. Though similar chatter has circled the internet for years, Google itself has never commented on such speculation, and never confirmed its plans to get in the processor game. At WWDC this week, meanwhile, Apple doubled down on its commitment to chips in the biggest way it ever has. All that has me, as a lifelong Android user, feeling more than a little envious at the moment.

Apple has announced it will transition the last of its product line not using Apple chipsets to the company's own processors.

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120

Android 11 isn't a 'boring' update, you're just not looking at it the right way

Android 11 has reached its "beta" milestone, and while we'll still probably see a few tweaks over the coming months, the general concepts and big-feature changes in the next Android release are just about set in stone. But while the common refrain is that Android 11 is a more minor (or even boring) update to Google's Android platform, the longer I use it, I'm not sure that's fair to say.

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