Today, a Big Brand launched a Major Smartphone with Exciting Innovations. Even as a jaded veteran in this industry, I do always take the time to see who's doing what, what's new, and how the landscape is changing. In the past few weeks, though, the amount of attention I pay to smartphones (and tech at large) has plummeted, even the phones I'm using every day.
As I've been spending time with the Galaxy S20 and S20 Ultra, I've struggled to come up with anything to say about them that feels like it matters, even in some small way, given what's going on in the world right now. Read More
When it comes to A/B tests, Google is the de facto king. Be it chat apps, social networks, or email, Google loves to place multiple products into a virtual death match, with the prize being the chance to continue existing (or, often, just die later). This strategy has in equal parts frustrated and delighted fans over the years, because it allows Google to bring innovative and interesting products to life that otherwise would be shelved for functional duplicity. And right now, a real A/B test is taking place inside Google's smartphone division, between the flagship Pixel and the budget-tier Pixel "a" series. Read More
Even if they've been arriving for plenty of folks early, today is technically Galaxy S20 day, and I've been excitedly playing with the Galaxy S20 Ultra that just landed at my own front door. For our full thoughts, you can check out the Android Police review, but I feel the need to reiterate one rather large detail to any of our readers that might still be waiting to pick one up: Even if you think you're fine with "big" phones, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is seriously on another level. Read More
5G will be the cause of transformative, disruptive changes across our world. At least, that was the promise. As fifth-generation wireless networks begin rolling out across the globe in 2020, though, the world's richest economy feels further behind than ever in the race to deploy new spectrum and networks to accommodate this major technical shift. And that trend shows few signs of letting up for years to come.
While American telecom operators AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint all have grand visions and big plans for 5G here in the US, none currently have the ability to deploy broad 5G networks that will be both comparable in size to and significantly more performant than their existing advanced 4G LTE networks. Read More
Several years ago, developers of music players on Android had to implement a persistent notification in order to keep their app running and music playing even when users switched to another app. With better memory management and more available RAM on modern phones, this isn't a concern anymore, and most devs have forgotten about that commodity. That has had one annoying consequence on several audio apps: If you mistakenly swipe them away, your music or podcasts or audiobooks stop playing. Read More
Thanks to COVID-19, aka the coronavirus, we've already seen major events in the mobile tech news space canceled. Factories across China have also been closing, seriously affecting supply chains, and manufacturers outside of the country are being affected. As fears of the virus and its impact continue to wreak havoc on the world economy, I think there's a good chance we'll see phone delays and shortages later this year. Read More
Announced just earlier today, Samsung's Galaxy S20 series of phones don't have a headphone jack. This isn't the first flagship device from Samsung to skip out on the trusty, universal 3.5mm connector — the Galaxy Note10 holds that honor — but this is a much bigger deal. The Note series may be breaking sales records, but the "base" Galaxy S is the Samsung phone. For many customers, it's Android's official ambassador in the mobile world, representing the default experience, and the fact that it just lost the dependable headphone jack probably spells the eventual end of the connector for all Android phones everywhere, forever. Read More
Let me preface this post by saying that I love Android's notification shade. I love the toggles for things like airplane mode and dark theme, I love the platform's increasingly rich and smart notification quick actions, notification bundling, and just how Android handles notifications in general. But after three months of using the Pixel 4 XL, I've come to an increasingly annoying realization: the notification shade is having absolutely ruinous effects on the phone's facial recognition performance, something I've never experienced on the iPhone. And the simple reason is fingerprints.
Sensors that have to see things don't like fingerprints, for obvious reasons. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More