Android Police

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op-ed

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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170

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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121

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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233

The Pixel 4a is putting Google in an unwinnable war — with itself

I don't think it meant to, but Google has backed itself into a corner with the anticipated Pixel 4a. The previous Pixel 3a was a smash-hit of a phone, doubling the company's phone sales amid some serious troubles. The 3a was so great it even earned our 2019 Smartphone of the Year accolade over the company's "flagship" Pixel 4 series. But based on what we've heard so far, I think the upcoming Pixel 4a could be a disaster for Google.

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159

It looks like OnePlus is killing its pop-up camera, and that's a bummer

When the first OnePlus 7 Pro renders trickled out, showing off what appeared to be a pop-out camera mechanism, even I was critical of the concept. External moving parts on a device that suffers as much abuse as a phone seemed like a design that was destined to fail, even in just a mechanical sense.

Well, I'm not afraid to say that I was entirely wrong. OnePlus' pop-up selfie camera has proven to be a fantastic idea, and I'm upset it looks like OnePlus' next high-end "Pro" phone won't get one.

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297

There just aren't enough good reasons to upgrade to the Pixel 4

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!"

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99

In-display fingerprint readers are a mistake — right now, anyway (opinion)

Six months ago, I was excited: The OnePlus 6T had just been officially announced bringing in-display fingerprint sensors to the mainstream US market. This was a genuinely new technology, after all, in a field of nearly-identical gadgets. It gave us all something to talk about as we anticipated all the ways it would change The Phone Experience for the better. But, six months later I've come to the conclusion that in-display fingerprint readers, as they stand today, were a mistake.

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75

Using the HTC G1, 10 years later: 2008's smartphone is effectively a dumbphone in 2018

As you may have noticed, this post originally appeared on Android Police earlier in 2018. As much of the AP team is away for the holidays this week, we're showcasing some of our favorite posts of the year. Enjoy!

Going into this series, I hoped I’d get back to the T-Mobile G1/HTC Dream and be able to romantically wax about where Android came from. How the G1, though dated, still held up the promises made by Google's first Android effort back in 2008. Analytically, it's all true, but time has not been kind to the phone, and using it has made for a pretty rough week, even by my recent standards. 

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110

Beware when buying third-party Google Assistant speakers and Smart Displays, updates and features are not equal

Another year, another category of Google-compatible products has flooded the market. A few years ago, it was the Chromecast, then it was the Google Home and Home Mini, and now it's the Google Home Hub. With every first-party release comes a slew of third-party alternatives, boasting the same features, same integrations, same functions, but with different designs and prices. On paper, they should be equal to Google's, but time and time again, we've learned that they're not.

Never though have the lines blurred as much as with the Home Hub and its Lenovo and JBL brethren. They look almost the same, both on the outside and in their interface, and Google pushed them earlier than its Home Hub, advertising them and talking about them as if they were its own.

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156

Using a Nexus One in 2018 gives 'obsolete' a whole new meaning

I've been working my way back through Google's Nexus line, re-examining older hardware and software for fun and profit. After the Nexus 5 and Galaxy Nexus, my every-other-phone cycle landed me on the Nexus One: the first Nexus smartphone. Never having used Android 2.3 Gingerbread or earlier full-time, I was curious to see what it would be like. So far as I can tell, the experience I missed out on is gone forever.

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