• Devices

    by Published on 08-31-2017 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Headphone jack present and accounted for!

    LG just pulled back the curtain on its other 2017 flagship at IFA in Berlin. Android Police is already calling it the most refined phone that the company has ever built. Gone is the gimmicky second screen from the V20, but LG's unique dual-camera setup—standard and wide angle lenses instead of standard and telephoto—remains. This is also LG's first phone in a while with an OLED screen.

    Make no mistake here: with the V30, LG has its crosshairs on the Galaxy S8. And by first accounts they appear to have done a pretty good job. Here's a quick rundown of notable specs:

    Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
    Display: 6 inch P-OLED QHD, 18:9 aspect ratio
    RAM / Storage: 4 GB / 64 or 128 GB + microSD
    Battery: 3,300 mAh
    Rear Cameras: 16 MP OIS / 13 MP wide angle EIS
    Front Camera: 5 MP
    Other: IP68 water and dust resistance, wireless charging
    Colours: Aurora Black, Cloud Silver, Moroccan Blue, Lavender Violet
    OS: Android 7.1.2

    No word yet on pricing or availability, but I'll see if I can find a video hands-on and post it to the news round-up this afternoon...

    Source: Android Police (1) (2)

    by Published on 08-29-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Apps

    As a Pebbler I'm supposed to hate Fitbit with a passion, despite the fact that they've mostly made good on their promise to keep Pebble servers up and running through the end of 2017. But I'm also a big fan of mobile tap-and-pay solutions, especially if they actually work in Canada. And it turns out that Fitbit's new Ionic smartwatch, made official yesterday, supports NFC-based payments from your wrist.

    What's a hard done by smartwatch enthusiast to do?

    This feature is almost certainly a result of Fitbit acquiring Coin last May, and by all reports will work exactly like you see in the photo above. Fitbit will only say that AMEX, MasterCard and VISA cards are supported; I dug around a little bit and found an unverified list of launch partners:

    Banco Santander
    Bank of America
    Capital One
    KBC Bank Ireland
    Royal Bank of Canada
    US Bank

    For some perspective on this, Apple Pay already enables wrist-based payments with an Apple Watch, and any Android Wear device with NFC should have the same functionality. The biggest hurdle for Fitbit Pay will inevitably be the ugliness of its first proper smartwatch—it's every bit as hideous as the leak we saw earlier this month.

    Source: Mobile Syrup, TechRadar, The Verge

    by Published on 08-28-2017 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis

    Last October I wrote about the egregious outright price of the Pixel XL in Canada—over $1,100 CAD for the 128 GB model. Midway through 2017 it seems that $1,000 USD is fast becoming the norm for a stretched display over a flagship phone. And if you happen to live in Australia and are a fan of the Galaxy Note series Samsung is expecting you to pony up $1,500 AUD for the latest version of that device.

    It's not just an Android problem, either... Apple is expected to début its 10th anniversary iPhone with a price tag in excess of $1,000 USD and, according to at least one survey, prospective buyers seem fine with that.

    I suppose an argument can be made that smartphone OEMs are merely passing on the R&D costs that make this product cycle's record-breaking screen-to-body ratios possible. But consider also that these same phones are in some ways downgrades from what came before. The Galaxy Note 8 has a smaller battery than the Note 7 (presumably so that it won't explode), Andy Rubin's high-priced Essential Phone has no waterproofing and neither it, the iPhone 8 or this year's Pixel series from Google will have a headphone jack.

    With these compromises in mind I have to ask: Are we actually getting a reasonable value from this year's near-bezel-less flagships?

    Links: 9to5Mac, reddit

    by Published on 08-25-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis

    Irony is, the bezels on this image are YUGE!

    Nevertheless, we should be grateful for a thoughtful redditor's recent contribution to r/Android, comparing the differences between 2017's "bezel-less" smartphones so far. There are some notable omissions... Xiaomi's Mi Mix kicked off this craze last year but was never intended for the North American market, so that's fine. But the Essential Phone should definitely be here. It's also odd that the as-yet unreleased iPhone 8 is present, but the similarly-leaked Pixel 2 XL is not.

    I think that the general idea here was to compare the bezels on specific phones and their forebears, specifically the Galaxy Note 8 vs. Note 7 and iPhone 8 vs. the 7 Plus. It also seems like the author is trying to decide between an LG V30 and G6. And for some reason the OnePlus 3 has been added to the comparison of bottom bezels and phone widths.

    To find out what other redditors are saying see the link directly below.

    Source: reddit

    by Published on 08-23-2017 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on

    Yesterday just before dinner I attended a TELUS-sponsored event showcasing Andy Rubin's Essential Phone. That Canadian carrier scored exclusive rights to sell the PH-1 in this country, and from their own listing seem to be offering it on payment plans only—$290 CAD down and $95/month or $490 down and $85/month for the duration of a two-year contract.

    I always find these carrier events just a little unsavoury, as the money that bankrolls their open bars and extravagant settings comes directly from subscribers' pockets. However, this one was at least a bit more informative than most, with employees from Essential on-hand to talk about various aspects of the phone. There were three manned stations—Camera, Design and Engineering; I visited each and listened to a short presentation, then tracked down an actual phone and took some photos. Which were of course out of focus.

    Anyway, here's what I learned about the Essential Phone...

    The Feel

    There's no questioning it, The PH-1 is a substantial device to hold in your hand, and definitely feels worthy of its $700 USD price tag. I also got to hold some of its individual components separately. The titanium frame is strong but impressively light, but when you add the ceramic back there's definitely some heft.

    As for the 360° camera accessory, the magnets that hold it to the phone are strong enough that you won't have to worry about it coming unstuck.

    The Cutout

    I didn't realize this, but the cutout at the top of the display for the selfie cam also holds the proximity and other sensors that you'd expect along the top of a typical smartphone. That's no small feat, and Essential did a better job with this than LG, Samsung or even what's coming from Apple.

    The Chin

    Of course I had to ask to design guy about this... Why does the Essential Phone's screen not extend all the way to the bottom edge of the phone? It turns out that, even without a headphone jack, some space was still needed for the LCD display driver and speaker assembly.

    The Bootloader

    On at least one of the phones I handled the bootloader was unlocked, and I was able to confirm with its owner that the bootloader on all Essential Phones is indeed unlockable. For Android modders that's great news.

    When it comes to carrier locks things are less clear. Phones ordered from Essential.com are SIM-unlocked but whether the TELUS version is any different is unknown. It's kind of academic, anyway, as it looks like the only way you'll be able to buy the phone in Canada is on TELUS through one of their payment plans and a two-year commitment.

    Expect to hear more about the Essential Phone if and when TELUS give us a loaner for review.

    Links: Essential, TELUS

    by Published on 08-22-2017 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    Google has so far released two Pixel-branded Chromebooks—the original in 2013 and a refresh in 2015, pictured directly above. According to Android Police, there will be a new Chromebook Pixel announced alongside the new Pixel phones later this year. Perhaps this one will be available for purchase in Canada? Please...?

    This third iteration of Google's own high-end notebook may or may not be an evolution of Project Bison, an Andromedia-powered notebook/tablet convertible with the following specs:

    12.3 inch screen
    8 or 16 GB of RAM
    32 or 128 GB of storage
    Optional Wacom stylus (sold separately)

    The existence of Project Bison was leaked to Android Police last fall; since then a new name has started popping up in the commits on Google's Chromium code review—this device, referred to as Eve, also seems to be a convertible with a Wacom digitizer. It could be the continuation of Project Bison, or something entirely new.

    For what it's worth, Bison was thought to retail for $799 USD. That's significantly cheaper than the first two Chromebook Pixels, and more in line with 2015's Pixel C tablet.

    Sources: Android Police, Chrome Unboxed

    by Published on 08-18-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    ASUS revealed its 4th generation ZenFone lineup yesterday. There's a lot to cover so let's get right to it...

    ZenFone 4
    Processor: Snapdragon 630 or 660
    RAM: 4 or 6 GB
    Storage: 64 GB + microSD (or dual SIM)
    Display: 5.5 inch FHD LCD
    Front Camera: 8 MP
    Rear Cameras: 12 MP OIS + 8 MP wide-angle
    Battery: 3,300 mAh
    Price: $399 USD

    ZenFone 4 Pro
    Processor: Snapdragon 835
    RAM: 6 GB
    Storage: 64 or 128 GB + microSD (or dual SIM)
    Display: 5.5 inch FHD AMOLED
    Front Camera: 8 MP
    Rear Cameras: 16 MP with 2x optical zoom + 12 MP
    Battery: 3,600 mAh
    Price: $599 USD

    ZenFone 4 Selfie
    Processor: Snapdragon 430
    RAM: 4 GB
    Storage: 64 GB + microSD (or dual SIM)
    Display: 5.5 inch 720p LCD
    Front Cameras: 20 MP + 8 MP wide-angle
    Rear Camera: 16 MP
    Battery: 3,000 mAh
    Price: $279 USD

    ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro
    Processor: Snapdragon 625
    RAM: 3 or 4 GB
    Storage: 64 GB + microSD (or dual SIM)
    Display: 5.5 inch FHD AMOLED
    Front Cameras: 24 MP + 12 MP wide-angle
    Rear Camera: 8 MP
    Battery: 3,000 mAh
    Price: $399 USD

    Sources: Liliputing, Mobile Syrup

    by Published on 08-17-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    This is the gimmick that Nokia is using to pitch their new flagship model 8, which was finally made official late yesterday. From the camera app you can access both the front and rear-facing camera feeds simultaneously in a 50/50 split window, like you see you above. "Bothies" can be photos, recorded video or even live video streamed to Facebook and/or YouTube.

    If nothing else, it's an apt demonstration that the camera modules on either side of the phone are identical—though there's an additional monochrome sensor on the back. Die-hard Nokia fans will probably be most interested in the ZEISS logo on the rear camera assembly.

    Here are details on the camera and other specs:

    CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
    Operating system: Android 7.1.1 Nougat
    RAM: 4 GB

    Internal memory: 64 GB
    MicroSD card slot: Up to 256 GB

    Size and type: 5.3” IPS QHD
    Resolution: 2560 x 1440
    Material: Corning Gorilla Glass 5, 2.5D Glass

    Camera and flash
    Primary camera: 13 MP (Colour + OIS) + 13 MP (Mono), dual tone flash
    Front-facing camera: 13 MP PDAF, display flash

    LTE Cat. 9, 3CA, 450Mbps DL/50Mbps UL
    802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (MIMO)

    Connectivity: Type C, USB 3.1 (5Gbps)
    SIM slot: 1 nano-SIM slot + 1 nano-SIM or 1 MicroSD card slot

    3.5mm headphone jack
    3 mics

    3090 mAh

    Splashproof (IP54)

    Size: 151.5mm x 73.7mm x 7.9mm
    Colors: Polished Blue, Tempered Blue, Steel, Polished Copper

    The Nokia 8 will be available for purchase on September 6th with a price tag of €599 EUR, or about $700 USD. Here's the bad news: Nokia has no immediate plans to bring their flagship to North America. Could be good news for grey market importers, though...!

    Links: Nokia

    by Published on 08-16-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Hot on the heels of yesterday's story about Snap, Inc.'s Spectacles comes this brand-new streaming camera called Front Row. It's available right now from Amazon.com (and ships to Canada) but will set you back $400 USD.

    Instead of putting a camera on your face you wear this device around your neck—with the included lanyard or a necklace of your own—or by clipping it to a piece of clothing. Apparently the idea for the product came from the CEO of Ubiquiti Networks, who was at an NBA game and wanted to livestream his view without holding up his phone.

    Fair enough, but why is this thing so big...?

    Because on the other side of this Android-powered camera system there's a full touchscreen. And also a selfie cam. The Front Row, it seems, is like an un-ruggedized GoPro made specifically for livestreaming. Interesting idea; not sure if it's worth the high price tag, though.

    Notable specs:

    Height: 59.8 mm / 2.354"
    Width: 70.3 mm / 2.768"
    Thickness: 12.1 mm / 0.476"
    Weight: 55 g / 1.94 oz

    Resolution: 640 x 572 @ 327 ppi
    Type: 1.96 inch LTPS Round
    Management: Touchscreen UI

    Main Camera
    Megapixels: (8 MP) / f2.2
    FOV: 148° ±3°
    Resolution: 1080p (1920 x 1080) - up to 2.7k
    Maximum Frame Rate: 30 fps
    Optical Image Stabilization: Yes

    Reverse Camera
    Megapixels: (5 MP) / f2.0
    FOV: 85°
    Resolution: 1080p (1920 x 1080) - up to 2k
    Max. Frame Rate: 30 fps

    Standby: 50 hrs
    Recording: 1 hr 50 min - 2 hr
    Live Streaming: 1 hr 45 min - 1 hr 55 min
    Charging: Fast Charging via USB C

    Memory & Storage
    RAM: 2 GB
    Storage: 32 GB

    Bluetooth: 4.1 LE
    Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n/ac

    System Architecture
    Front Row OS: Android
    Processor: Quad Core

    Links: Amazon, Android Police, Front Row, Wareable

    by Published on 08-15-2017 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis

    A story published in yesterday's news round-up is worthy of a little more scrutiny... according to TechCrunch, sales of Snap, Inc.'s camera-equipped Spectacles are falling hard, and fast.

    In their first full sales quarter fewer than 64,000 Spectacles were sold. If that doesn't sound like much here's the really bad news: Q2 was even worse, with sales of only 41,500 units—a drop of roughly 35%. Snap recently started selling Spectacles through Amazon.com and Harrod's in the UK, but I don't foresee either of these entities reversing the company's fortunes anytime soon. Amazon, if anything, will just enable easier returns.

    One reason for the failure of this product has to be the obvious privacy issue; I just don't think our society is ready for people wearing cameras on their faces. It's reminiscent of my feelings about Google Glass—I was really excited about it's AR potential until I encountered someone wearing it in New York City; with the realization that I was probably being recorded I suddenly wasn't so interested anymore.

    There's also the fashion angle, or in the case of Spectacles the lack thereof. Imagine if, like Android Wear, Snap put aside their single, in-house design and instead partnered with established eyewear brands like Ray-Ban or Oakley. This way, Snap users could use the technology with their own sunglass style. As an added bonus, there would be a sales channel for Snap already in place.

    Or maybe Spectacles are just a bad idea altogether. What do you think?

    Source: TechCrunch

    by Published on 08-14-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices
    Article Preview

    One of the major criticisms of the OnePlus 5 (after the price) was the discovery and subsequent confirmation of its inverted display. OnePlus has never explained why they chose to mount the display panel upside-down in the phone's chassis; I suspect that it was a deliberate engineering choice to make that chassis stronger. Unfortunately for the user, however, this results in a screen that refreshes in an odd way. It's most noticeable when scrolling through long lists like entries in an app drawer or a Twitter feed, and has come to be known as the jelly effect.

    It was XDA who proved that the OP5's display was upside-down, and now they're reporting that Motorola's new Z2 Force has the same issue. ...
    by Published on 08-11-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    If you say so...

    Wareable scored a nice little scoop with some exclusive renders of Project Higgs—aka the Fitbit smartwatch—which they insist is the final design for the product. I use the term "design" loosely here, because I think this thing is as ugly as hell, only slightly less hideous than Fitbit's existing Blaze.

    Note that the Fitbit logo takes up a full fifth of the front face.

    The back of the watch has a deliberate protrusion to better lock on to your heart rate. Wareable is speculating that the blue light at the bottom is a pulse oximeter for measuring blood oxygen levels. Whatever the case, it looks super-uncomfortable.

    The strap looks like it has a proprietary connection but can at least be swapped out. That's a good thing, as Fitbit's straps have a tendency to break. A lot.

    There will apparently be three available colour combinations, none of which will do anything for its looks. You'll only ever want to wear this for a night out if that night out is at the gym.

    Mind you, this derision and disdain is coming from a self-professed smartwatch design snob; what do you think of Fitbit's smartwatch?

    Source: Wareable

    by Published on 08-08-2017 06:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    Yesterday this photo of a developer unit was leaked to GSM Arena. It's believed to be the Pixel 2—the smaller, HTC-made device (codename: "walleye") with the 4.95 inch screen, rather than the LG-made Pixel 2 XL ("taimen") with the 5.99 inch display.

    With all the stickers and tape the back of the unit honestly doesn't look like much; fortunately, the anonymous leaker also supplied a photo of the front of the phone.

    Sorry, make that two phones... The bad news: the massive chin and forehead of the original Pixels have been carried over, but this time around they are at least partly justified by front-facing stereo speakers, a feature last seen two generations ago on the Huawei Nexus 6P.

    And now the really bad news: multiple sources, including Evan Blass, are reporting that there will be no headphone jack on either of this year's Pixel phones. Because #courage...?

    Sources: GSM Arena, Venture Beat

    by Published on 08-04-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Apps

    ... But only on Verizon, at least for the moment—an unlocked version is coming soon to Amazon. In Canada it's already available unlocked from Canada Computers and Memory Express.

    If you didn't know, "AR" stands for augmented reality; the ZenFone AR is the world's second-ever production handset to support Google's Project Tango, preceded only by the gargantuan (and also underpowered) Lenovo Phab Pro 2. Apps that support Project Tango are few and far between. Current showpieces include Lowe's Vision, which lets you preview Lowe's appliances and furniture in your own home, and Hot Wheels Track Builder, where you can lay out orange tracks to your heart's content in an entirely virtual space. The ZenFone AR also supports Daydream (Google's VR), and there are many more available titles which you can use with that.

    The phone's notable specs are as follows:

    Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
    5.7 inch Super AMOLED QHD display
    23 megapixel rear camera
    Four-axis OIS and three-axis video stabilization
    4K video recording
    8 megapixel selfie cam
    6 or 8 GB of RAM
    64 or 128 GB of storage
    3,300 mAh battery
    Android 7.0 Nougat

    There are actually three variants of the ZenFone AR: one with 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage for $599 USD ($899 CAD), another with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage for $699 USD and also a Verizon-exclusive version with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage for $649 USD.

    CNET has an in-depth preview of the phone with video and a gallery of photos; for links to that along with current buying options see directly below.

    Links: Canada Computers, CNET, Memory Express, Verizon

    by Published on 08-02-2017 08:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis
    Article Preview

    Three years ago this month I road-tested my first smartwatch, the first Android Wear wearable from LG. I bought it on a whim, sight unseen, immediately after watching the webcast of the live keynote for the launch of Android Wear. On a similar whim some six months later I bought an original Pebble on clearance at my local Best Buy. I stuck with that through the launch of the Pebble Time in mid-2015, gave up for a while, came back to the superior Pebble Time Steel and remained a loyal Pebbler until the sale of assets to Fitbit last December. Then I returned to Android Wear, but only devices made by traditional watchmakers. And now, thanks to Gadgetbridge, I find myself reunited with my collection of Pebbles.

    I've never owned an Apple Watch or a Fitbit, but thanks to Howard I did get to spend a weekend with an original Galaxy Gear way back in the winter of 2013. All this is only to say that I know a thing or two about the device category. So here's what I think of it, three years on. ...
    by Published on 08-01-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    Looks like that Thai dude was legit after all...

    Photos of Samsung's Galaxy Note8 that surfaced on Facebook in mid-July have been corroborated by Evan Blass, the most trusted leaker out there. He tweeted the photo above at 3:30am Eastern Time last night, confirming that this year's iteration of Samsung's famous phablet will be its first phone with a dual camera setup. And unfortunately, like the S8 and S8 Plus, the fingerprint reader will be almost directly beside it.

    After tweeting a press shot of the front of the phone yesterday afternoon, a Twitter follower whipped up this handy side-by-side comparison with the Galaxy S8. It might not be 100% accurate in terms of scale, but at least shows the differences in design.

    The Galaxy Note8 is expected to be made official on Wednesday, August 23rd at an event in New York City.

    Sources: @evleaks (1) (2), via Android Police

    by Published on 07-31-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    Samsung's Galaxy Active line seems to be quite popular with Android users, enough so that unlocked versions of the exclusive-to-AT&T devices are readily available on Amazon and eBay. And it's pretty easy to see why: who wouldn't want a flagship smartphone with a bigger battery and more durable casing?

    A ruggedized version of this year's Galaxy S8 was inevitable, and we now have an early look via a leaked training manual to Android Police. The specs:

    Snapdragon 835 processor
    5.8" Super AMOLED QHD display, Gorilla Glass 5
    4 GB RAM / 64 GB storage plus microSD
    12 MP F1.7 rear camera / 8 MP F1.7 selfie cam
    4,000 mAh battery
    IP68 + MIL-STD-810G durability
    Android 7.0 Nougat

    The older version of Android may disappoint some, and here's something likely to annoy everyone: the formerly-reprogrammable "active" button will now only launch Bixby.

    The Galaxy S8 Active is expected to be available in two colors, Meteor Gray and Titanium Gold (American spelling deliberate for our friends on AT&T). The price has yet to be confirmed, but the phone's launch is imminent, possibly as early as August 1st.

    Source: Android Police

    by Published on 07-28-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    Evidence of Nokia's comeback as an Android OEM continues, with a new report of some 500 design patents transferred back to the company from the former owner of its smartphone business. The most recognizable of the bunch would have to be the user interface from the Lumia camera app, seen above.

    The trademarks associated with the app—PureView, PureMotion, etc.—remain the intellectual property of Microsoft Mobile Oy; the patents, however, were apparently triggered by the sale of some other assets by Microsoft to a third party last year. This leaves Microsoft's mobile business with about 200 design patents remaining. Sure would be a shame for those to go to waste.

    With the Lumia camera UI back under the Nokia banner and the renewed partnership with Carl Zeiss, Inc., the Nokia 8 that's due next month might give this year's Pixel some stiff competition in the camera department!

    Source: Nokiamob

    by Published on 07-25-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on

    It's not the first Xiaomi phone to support American and Canadian LTE bands (that honour would, I think, go to the Mi 5S Plus) but the Mi Note 2 is Xiaomi's first global phone to get an extensive review by the western tech press—XDA, to be exact. Unfortunately the phone is not officially sold here; the review unit was provided by GearBest, a grey market importer based in Hong Kong.

    I'll provide a few highlights here, but if you're interested in this device or in Xiaomi products in general you should definitely check out the source.


    5.7 inch FHD screen
    Snapdragon 821 processor
    6 GB of RAM / 128 GB of storage
    22.56 MP rear camera / 8 MP selfie cam
    4,070 mAh battery, Quick Charge 3.0
    Dual nano SIM support


    The Mi Note 2 runs MIUI 8, based on Android Marshmallow. This will likely be the most polarizing feature of the phone. Unfortunately Xiaomi doesn't have the best track record at releasing kernel sources, so if you wanted a device for custom ROMs you'd be better of with the Mi 5S Plus—which at least is supported by Lineage OS.

    Note that because this version of the phone originates from Hong Kong it will ship with both Google Play and Mi Services on board.

    Why You Should Care

    It's inevitable that Xiaomi will one day sell unlocked phones in North America; there's already a trickle of devices and accessories from third-party sellers on Amazon. The company's growing portfolio of products will hopefully spur other smartphone OEMs to up their game. The North American market doesn't need another $1,000 phone, but it could certainly use some competition at the $500 price point.

    Source: XDA

    by Published on 07-21-2017 09:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    XDA has posted a nice essay on how various Android OEMs have let down their customers so far this year. We'll start with the story described above.

    Ads in HTC's Keyboard

    XDA actually doesn't have the entire story here; for that we can thank Android Police. What happened is that HTC licensed a third-party keyboard called TouchPal for some of their devices. TouchPal makes money by charging their users an annual subscription fee, without which you'd probably end up seeing ads on your keyboard at some point. I'm fairly certain that neither HTC nor TouchPal ever intended these ads to appear on licensed-to-HTC keyboards; it's likely just a matter of a software update being pushed out to the wrong channel.

    Motorola's Shrinking Battery

    It's not just Motorola that's guilty of this, but XDA rightly points an accusing finger at them for replacing the 3,510 mAh battery on the Z Play with a significantly smaller 3,000 mAh battery on the Z2 Play—entirely missing the point of what made the old model so successful. Is there seriously anyone reading this who would rather have an impossibly-thin phone than one with a decent-sized battery?

    OnePlus 5's Upside-Down Display

    Apparently other OEMs are also guilty of this, but XDA didn't explicitly mention which ones. Suffice to say that the Shenzhen startup's 2017 flagship killer will forever be known as the one with the upside-down screen. And in case you were wondering, it was indeed a deliberate design choice!

    Samsung's Bixby Button

    I suppose you can't fault Samsung for pushing its own "AI" assistant, but you most certainly can fault them for dedicating a hardware button to it on their Galaxy S8 models, and actively blocking the remapping of said button to another function. The Verge goes so far as to call it hardware bloat; haven't heard that one before!

    Sources: Android Police, The Verge, XDA

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