I'll admit, I thought that Android gaming phones were a stupid idea. But after using the Red Magic 3S off and on over the last month, I'm happy to say that my attitude was wrong. That's not to say I'd recommend using one as your only phone — I wouldn't — but there's definitely a point to gaming phones, and the Red Magic 3S has a lot of potential, packing a great software experience together with price-defying hardware. I just wouldn't buy one to use as my only phone. Read More
The Google Pixel 4 has been out for a few weeks now, and even though I have a review unit in my hand, I'm in no rush to swap out my SIM from my Pixel 3. I will eventually switch phones "for science," as we often say, to justify our choices working in this industry. But it's hard for me to recommend that anyone else do the same. The Pixel 4 may boast some new features, but nothing screams, "run out and upgrade now!"
If you were to ask me if the Pixel 4 is worth the upgrade, I'd say it isn't. Read More
This weekend, I watched a clip of The Verge’s podcast featuring one of Google’s product managers for the Pixel 4, Isaac Reynolds, discussing the decision to omit 4K 60FPS (and 4K 24FPS) video recording from the phone. In and of itself, I don’t think it’s a very interesting topic, and I don’t believe anyone thinks Google made the “right” call in excluding it. But Reynolds’ answer regarding that decision hinges on an argument Google has abused for years: 80% of people will never use this feature.
I suspect the 80% rule (which I'm guessing is also the 85/90/95% rule, depending on who you ask) is an unspoken philosophy at Google. Read More
Google announced earlier this week that it would purchase Fitbit, the ailing manufacturer of fitness-focused wearables and smartwatches, for $2.1 billion. As tech acquisitions go, this one was small: Google valued Fitbit at a price equivalent to that of budget TV manufacturer Vizio back in 2016, a company whose value exists largely in its retail distribution network.
As I alluded to in the opening line, Fitbit isn't doing well. Its stock peaked shortly after its IPO in 2015 around $45 per share, and even after the announcement of Google's acquisition, sits at just over $7 today. This is because Fitbit's newest products aren't, well, good: its most ambitious yet, the Versa 2, has been subject to criticism almost entirely for the software it runs, while the hardware does little to set it apart meaningfully from manufacturers like Samsung and Apple. Read More
I've been using the Pixel 4 XL for the better part of a day now. I could tell you about that experience, what it's been like, and how the phone's handled. Those kinds of articles are generally what you expect alongside a smartphone launch. But the more I use the phone, the more I realize that, like so many smartphones, the Pixel 4 XL is basically just a phone. Most phones are so much more similar than they are different in 2019, and those differences that do remain are becoming vanishingly small. Many of them also center on questions that I simply can't answer yet — questions that speak to how mature, how grown up Google's smartphone division has become. Read More
I wanted so much more for Chrome OS. But when Google announces the expected "Pixelbook Go" on October 15, I expect to be left wishing for something that will simply never be.
From the moment they came on the scene I was excited about the concept behind Chromebooks: a light operating system that can run on cheap hardware and handle just about all of a person’s computing basics. Introduced at a time when Windows Vista was still a painful and recent memory and Apple was beginning to alienate longtime OS X devotees with frustrating changes (I still recall repeatedly shaking my fist at “El Capitan”), the idea of a simplified OS on commodified and trivially replaceable hardware seemed to me to be just what the industry, and millions of consumers, needed. Read More
For the last several years, smartphone manufacturers innovated primarily in the way of camera technology, while the form factor has increasingly stagnated into a bunch of boring, glass-backed slabs. Many have been asking for more innovation, and with the Samsung Galaxy Fold we see a radical departure from the ordinary. But phones that fold are, in a way, a return to the past.
Nearly a decade ago, we had foldable phones like the Nokia E7 and T-Mobile Touch Pro 2. They were known as "slider" phones, and featured displays that folded away to reveal physical QWERTY keyboards, with email and texting first in mind use cases. Read More
Yesterday, I posted (and shared via Android Police's official Twitter account) that Android Police will no longer be accepting any access from Andy Rubin's startup Essential. That means no more press conferences, briefings, embargoes, or review devices. This came in light of Rubin's announcement of the company's new phone, apparently called GEM.
In the time between the announcement of the PH-1 over two years ago and yesterday's tease of GEM, a significant story about Rubin was published: The New York Times reported he was paid $90 million to leave Google in connection with a serious and, according to Google's own internal investigation, "credible" allegation that he coerced another Google employee into having sexual relations with him. Read More
Microsoft fans have been holding out for a 'Surface Phone' for years. Yesterday, it could have almost appeared — if you squinted hard enough — that Microsoft gave it to them. But the Surface Duo is barely a phone at all, and hardly what rendered fantasies have imagined a Microsoft smartphone could be. It's way weirder and way more daring than that. And, counter-intuitively, a strong reason to temper your excitement for Microsoft's big leap into the world of Android. Read More