Android Police

Articles Tagged:

opinion

116

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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152

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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459

Chrome OS has stalled out

Nearly ten years ago, Google shipped an unassuming, totally unbranded laptop to a large group of journalists and tech enthusiasts as part of a 60,000 unit pilot program. That laptop was the CR-48, and it was designed to showcase a project Google had been working on internally for well over a year. It was called Chrome OS.

I was among the first of those lucky folks to receive a CR-48, and I used it as much as humanly possible for almost a year. It was kind of the worst: constant crashes, an insanely slow single-core Intel Atom processor, and questionable build quality would make it clear to anyone that it was very much a product built for dogfooding, not as a replacement for your Windows or Mac notebook.

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54

A year and a half later Netflix still doesn't work on smart displays, and that's ridiculous

Assistant-powered smart displays aren't exactly "new" anymore. Back in early 2018, when we got our first glance at CES, they were fresh and exciting. And yet, almost two years since they were first revealed and a year and a half since they went on sale, they still have one glaring omission — and, surprisingly, it isn't Google's fault. Although you can stream Hulu, YouTube TV, Twitch, and Disney+ to your Nest Hub or Lenovo Smart Display, it's nearly 2020 and you still can't stream Netflix.

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6

Red Magic 3S not-review: I like this silly phone

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.

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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!"

If you were to ask me if the Pixel 4 is worth the upgrade, I'd say it isn't.

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466

Google is trying to build phones for "80% of users" — and it's leading to stupid mistakes

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.

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229

Opinion: Screw the carriers, Google should roll out RCS messaging worldwide

I don’t know how many people have taken advantage of the RCS “hack” recently discovered in Google Messages, which allows almost anyone to hop onto Google’s Jibe servers for RCS/Chat messaging, but it must be a pretty insane number given the attention our walkthrough has received. For some of those folks, this last week has been a source of anxiety, too, as all of us enjoying the new “Chat” features are left wondering whether or not Google will let this carrier circumvention fly. There was even a small hiccup that stirred up some panic. But if Google really wants what is best for consumers, it should do more than just ignore this apparent workaround.

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210

Buying Fitbit won't save Google's failing Wear OS

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.

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101

Microsoft's Android "phone" isn't the Surface Phone you've been begging for

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.

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