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Editorials

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First, they came for your phone's headphone jack—is the USB port next?

When Apple released the first iPhone without a headphone jack two years ago, many - critics, consumers, and competitors alike - were quick to cry foul. The decision was widely derided arrogant and unfriendly, and CMO Phil Schiller took a well-deserved beating in the court of public opinion for calling the removal of the 3.5mm jack “courageous.”

Imagine, then, what would happen if Apple was to remove the charging and data port from the iPhone entirely.

It's not as wild as it sounds. A report from trusted Apple leaker Mark Gurman recently revealed that the company had considered doing just that with the iPhone X.

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Xiaomi wants to come to America, but it feels more stuck in China than ever

For all the traction China’s many smartphone brands have gained globally in the past decade, it’s in China itself where they remain most popular. And for good reason: because Chinese consumers don’t have access to many Western products or services. Xiaomi is one of the most popular smartphone brands in China, and while the unique market in that country has encouraged the company to think differently than its more global rivals in some ways, its latest smartphone strikes me as one built by China, for China. There’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but it makes me question just what Xiaomi’s pitch to the rest of the world will be, or if the company’s phones will ever matter outside a few, select regions.

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HTC's U12+ shows a smartphone company in free fall

It’s no secret that HTC, as a smartphone company, is hard up. And while the relative success of its Vive VR unit has warded off active ‘death watch’ speculation to date, there’s little doubt that HTC’s days as a smartphone maker are winding down. The company’s release schedule has become haphazard: it announced a “U Ultra” smartphone in early 2017 seemingly out of nowhere - that ended up being a complete flop. Six months later it revealed the U11 to largely positive reviews, but little in the way of consumer response. The “light” version of that phone, the U11 Life, wasn’t even worth a second glance, and now it seems HTC won’t even release a proper mainstream premium phone in 2018 at all.

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Pixel feature request: Give us squeeze to take photos in Google Camera

The so-called Active Edge functionality on the Pixel 2 and 2 XL which allows you to squeeze the body of the phone to activate Google's Assistant is pretty polarizing. Even here at Android Police, our general staff consensus is that we trigger it more frequently by accident than intent. Not being able to easily remap the trigger is also a huge downer. But worse than that is the fact that right now in Google's own Camera app, it doesn't even do anything.

Well, Google, I have a suggestion: Why not give us a squeezable shutter like HTC phones?

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Wear OS is in trouble, and only Google can save it

Android Wear seemed like the right product at the right time when Google announced it back in 2014. Smartwatches were just starting to take off with products like the Pebble awakening our latent desire for wrist computers. Meanwhile, Apple's long-rumored smartwatch was still unannounced. After four years, dozens of watches, and a name change, Wear OS is in a tough spot.

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The GDPR goes into effect on Friday, here’s how it will affect you

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you'll have noticed the barrage of emails from companies notifying you of changes to their privacy policy and terms of service. That's no coincidence, of course: on Friday, May 25, a sweeping new legislation, which deals with data privacy and how companies handle an individual's personal data, will go into effect in the European Union. The regulation, called the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR for short, grants individuals a series of rights concerning their personal data, and stipulates a number of duties companies have regarding how that data is processed.

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Opinion: Google AMP is still confusing, and it's not getting any better

The mobile web can be frustrating. Smartphones and tablets are becoming faster every year, but modern sites usually outpace them by becoming more complicated. While there are efforts to improve site load times, smartphones have to deal with other obstacles as well. Cellular network connections can become congested, especially in densely-populated areas, and budget phones often aren't speedy enough for a good browsing experience.

There have been many different products and technologies designed to speed up mobile browsing. Some browsers, like Opera Mini and Amazon Silk, render most of the page on a server and send the result to the user's device.

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Let's name all the Google Assistant voices

The Google Assistant is growing up, and beyond adding a smattering of extra functionality to what's increasingly becoming a list of every Google product and service under the sun, the Assistant is also picking up some new character. This year at I/O, Google introduced us to Assistant's six new voice options, in addition to the default female voice and the male option we saw arrive last year. But who are all these voices?

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The OnePlus 6 is the best Android phone with a notched screen yet

OnePlus is a company that, historically, hasn’t been known for adventurous smartphone designs. And while much of the OnePlus 6 merely iterates on the same rather staid, minimal hardware language, there is one part that stands out: this is the first Android phone with a screen notch I haven’t felt repulsed by.

Now, I don’t mind screen notches, in theory. The iPhone X manages to incorporate one well, particularly owing to the fact that the rest of the screen bezel around the phone is equally thin. Which is to say, there isn’t a chin.

The OnePlus 6 does have a chin - and there are reasons for that - but I think it incorporates that element far better than, for example, Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone.

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