• Devices

    by Published on 05-18-2018 06:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    HTC has a new flagship on the way, and thanks to master leaker Evan Blass we've got an early look. The trio of images above are apparently official press renders, which Blass tweeted yesterday along with a three-page spec sheet. Some highlights:

    6 inch 18:9 2880 x 1440 pixel LCD display
    Snapdragon 845 Processor
    6 GB RAM / 64 or 128 GB of storage + microSD
    12 MP wide angle + 16 MP telephoto OIS rear cameras
    Dual 8 MP selfie cams
    3,500 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0
    Android 8.0 Oreo with HTC Sense
    HTC Edge Sense 2 (squeezable frame)

    The leaked documents indicate that the device will be made official next Wednesday, May 23rd, so HTC fans won't have long to wait!

    Source: @evleaks via GSM Arena

    by Published on 05-17-2018 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis

    The OnePlus 6 was officially revealed yesterday. There's a video from Michael Fisher—aka Mr. Mobile—in yesterday's news round-up, along with some other links. Basically we're looking at an incremental upgrade from late 2017's OnePlus 5T. Major specs are as follows:

    Snapdragon 845 processor
    6.28 AMOLED display (with notch)
    6 or 8 GB of RAM / 64, 128 or 256 GB of storage
    16 MP OIS and 20 MP rear cameras
    16 MP selfie cam with EIS
    3,300 mAh battery with Dash Charge
    3.5 mm audio jack (!)
    OxygenOS (Android Oreo 8.1)
    Colours: Midnight Black, Mirror Black and Silk White
    Starting Price: $529 USD / $699 CAD

    Now if you'll indulge this current OnePlus user for a few moments, I'd like to offer my perspective on the latest from Carl Pei and company.

    The Price

    I certainly agree with Michael Fisher that OnePlus isn't the bargain that it used to be. Here in Canada a fully-loaded 6 will set you back a whopping $839 CAD, perilously close to the current $899 sticker price of a Pixel 2 from Google. You lose the tall screen and headphone jack, but you gain what everybody seems to agree is the best smartphone camera currently on the market.

    I think a better comparison would be against the iPhone X. With a similar 256 GB of storage one of those would set you back an egregious $1,529 CAD, making the OnePlus 6 seem a bit more reasonable.

    The Notch

    2018's biggest fad will be yesterday's news as soon as OEMs figure out how to put fingerprint sensors underneath their displays. Had OnePlus gone the route of Samsung the 6 would age far more gracefully, I think, but at least its notch can be hidden with a software toggle. I'm not sure how well that's going to work, but given the AMOLED screen at least the pixels won't be lit.

    The Camera

    The return of optical image stabilization is most welcome, but what's up with that other lens on the back? Carl Pei barely mentioned it in his presentation, and I can't help but think there would have been significant cost savings with one decent camera rather than two mediocre ones.

    Should You Upgrade?

    At this point I think the smartphone market has matured enough that everyone has found an OEM to call their own. If you're on Team Samsung or Team Pixel then OnePlus has really only its low cost of entry to lure you away. If, however, you're thinking of upgrading from an earlier OnePlus phone I believe I can offer some advice...

    I'm currently using a 5T and don't see enough reasons to upgrade. If the 6's glass back supported fast wireless charging it might be a different story, but I'm perfectly happy with my current phone. But if you're coming from a OnePlus 5 or below then I'd say the 6 is a worthy upgrade—it's tall screen, especially with gesture navigation enabled, makes any 16:9 smartphone seem ancient by comparison.

    ... Or you could just hold out another six months for the inevitable OnePlus 6T

    Here are the OnePlus 6 online stores for Canada and the USA.

    by Published on 05-15-2018 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Tips

    Here's a deal you don't see every day: if you're in the market for a new high-powered Android device, LG Canada is offering a free 43 inch 4K Smart TV if you pre-order their new G7 between May 18th and May 31st.

    A quick reminder about the G7: LG's 2018 flagship features a dedicated Google Assistant button, a speaker that uses the phone's innards as a resonance chamber, a rare second wide-angle camera lens and also a display notch. I don't know anything about the TV, but what do you care? It's free.

    A few caveats about this deal: In North America LG sells its smartphones only through carriers, not directly to consumers. So you'll have to purchase your G7, possibly with a service commitment, from either Bell, Bell MTS, Best Buy, Best Buy Mobile, Fido, Freedom Mobile, Koodo Mobile, Mobile Shop, Rogers, SaskTel, T-Booth Wireless, Telus, Virgin Mobile, Visions Electronics, Walmart, Wireless Etc, Wireless Wave or WOW! Mobile.

    The other thing you should probably know is that, despite being the OEM behind the legendary Nexus 5, more recent LG devices have been known to experience boot-loop issues. Not every device, but enough of them to be a concern.

    Let us know if you grab this deal!

    Source: LG Canada Promotions via r/Android

    by Published on 05-10-2018 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    The OnePlus 6 is set to be unveiled in London next week, but thanks to a tweet (since deleted) by Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, here's an early look at two variants of the phone. That's Bachchan on the right, and OnePlus CEO Pete Lau on the left.

    With it's vertically-oriented dual-camera assembly and elliptical fingerprint reader it seems like OnePlus is now drawing design inspiration from Samsung as well as Apple. I wouldn't call that a bad thing.

    Confirmed features and specs for the OnePlus 6 are as follows:

    The latest and greatest Snapdragon processor (845);
    a me-too display notch (hidable via software);
    water resistance;
    3.5 mm audio jack;
    2018's camera gimmick, super-slow-motion video.

    Super-slo-mo video, already seen on Samsung's Galaxy S9 and Sony's Xperia XZ1, is made possible by the Snapdragon 845—which, according to XDA, supports slow motion HEVC video encoding at either 480fps (720p) or 240fps (1080p). This and some sort of water resistance were teased in separate tweets by OnePlus.

    Not yet confirmed is support for wireless charging, but it would certainly make sense. There's the glass back you can see on Mr. Bachchan's device above, and also the resurgence of Qi charging thanks to the latest iPhones.

    One thing is for certain: all will be revealed when the OnePlus 6 is made official at 5pm BST next Wednesday.

    Source: XDA

    by Published on 05-07-2018 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. News

    Looks like Fossil is having a big sale on its Q-branded hybrid and Wear OS smartwatches this week. Android Police reports prices as low as $150 USD for the touchscreen models, while Fossil itself is advertising a starting price of $199. Canadians can benefit from this sale as well; I'm currently seeing discounted prices on both Amazon and Best Buy Canada.

    If you're confused by all the available options you're not alone. Maybe this will help: The watches powered by Wear OS can be distilled into three product lines—Q Explorist has three buttons, Q Venture has one button and Q Control seems to be a rebranded Misfit Vapor. Probably the best thing about these third-generation Android-powered wearables is that their displays no longer have the flat tire that plagued the early years of Android Wear.

    Fossil's hybrid smartwatches are much more varied, which makes sense given their more traditional timekeeping movements. If it's this type of watch that you're interested in then you can just find a size and watch face that you like and leave it at that. Happy shopping!

    Source: Fossil via Android Police

    by Published on 05-03-2018 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Not 100% sure on this but I think—rather, I thinq—that the additional branding speaks to the phone's compatibility with LG's growing catalog of smart appliances. Still a terrible name, though.

    The new G7 does have a couple of neat tricks up its sleeve, however. Its derivative notch (LG calls it their "new second screen") can be hidden via software, or made to stand out even more with user-selectable custom backgrounds. Perhaps a more practical trick is that the phone uses its internal cavity as a speaker chamber, producing louder audio with bass that will apparently rumble in your hands. LG calls this Boombox Speaker—not speakers, because there's only one.

    Some additional specs:

    6.1 inch 3120 x 1440 pixel (QHD+) LCD display
    18:9 aspect ratio; 19.5:9 with notch
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Processor
    4 GB RAM / 64 GB storage + microSD
    16 MP OIS + 16 MP super wide angle rear cameras
    8 MP wide angle selfie cam
    Quad DAC with 32 bit HiFi audio
    3.5 mm headphone jack (!)
    3,000 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0
    Android 8.0 Oreo
    Colours: Platinum Grey, Aurora Black

    The G7 will be available in Korea Mid-May, and sometime in June for the U.S. and Canada. Pricing has yet to be confirmed.

    Sources: LG Canada, Mobile Syrup, TechRadar

    by Published on 05-02-2018 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    My girlfriend brought home this little souvenir from our recent trip to Copenhagen, a SKAGEN Mini Hald Hybrid in rose gold. I'd love to crack open the box to give you a better look, but it's not mine so I'm not allowed.

    We bought it at the SKAGEN Store in Copenhagen, a little boutique on a busy shopping street. Except for the branding it could easily be mistaken for a Fossil store in your local mall—which only makes sense, as SKAGEN is owned by Fossil Group. Pro tip: you don't actually pronounce SKAGEN skah-ghen, but rather, skay-en. The brand gets its name from the northernmost town in Denmark. The more you know...

    Anyway, what immediately struck me as unusual about this particular wearable was how thick it is. It's powered by a regular watch battery (CR2025) so it must have a fairly substantial vibration motor on board. The watch connects to your Apple or Android device with the same app I used for the SKAGEN Falster. That Wear OS device, by the way, had its own dedicated display, front and centre in the shop. I asked the person helping us how it was selling; he confided with me that hybrids were more popular with their customers.

    And yet the new hybrid watch owner in our house hasn't even broken the seal on the box. Apparently she is saving it for a special occasion; in the meantime her Pebble Time Round gets the job done. That's my girl!

    by Published on 04-11-2018 10:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on

    Springtime in Canada... Time to show some skin!

    I'm sad to report that my brief affair with the Skagen Falster is over and done. It was indeed a fetching timepiece but all too quickly I was reminded of how terrible Android Wear is. And going back to Pebble is like wearing a ticking time bomb, set to go off on June 30th when Fitbit finally shuts down the servers forever.

    So instead I've been getting reacquainted with the Amazfit Bip. And honestly, the more I wear it the more I appreciate what Huami has accomplished with this little wrist-based gadget.

    I harp so much on the shortcomings of Android Wear/Wear OS because the hardware is so expensive; when you spend $500 or more on a smartwatch you can't help but notice its shortcomings. But with a price tag of less than $100 it's an entirely different story with the Bip; instead of being disappointed at what it can't do I find myself surprised and delighted at what it can.

    Here then, is a quick list of what the Bip does:

    Shows the time, all the time. When I'm out in the world and observe the dead screens of Apple Watches on people's wrists I can't help but shake my head a little bit. Like the Apple Watch, the Bip also has a touch screen. Unlike the Apple Watch the Bip is always readable, even in bright sunlight.

    Holds a charge. Amazfit's bold claim of a battery that lasts up to a month isn't too far off; I've had my Bip for two and with intermittent use the factory charge lasted until a few days ago. Tracking an hour-long walk with GPS on drains less than 4% of the battery, so it looks like it's going to be at least another 25 days before my next charge.

    Displays notifications. This is, after all, the raison d'être for smartwatches. You can't reply to an incoming message like you can on Pebble, Watch or Wear OS. But considering the always-on display and battery life I'm pretty okay with this.

    Tracks your health and fitness. The Bip itself has a heart rate sensor and, as mentioned earlier, GPS. For fitness tracking the heavy lifting is actually done by Mi Fit for Android or iOS, which syncs data from your watch every time you open the app.

    Gives you some useful utilities. The Bip has no official app store, but the utilities on board—including alarms, a compass, stopwatch, timer and local weather forecast—are quite handy.

    Holds promise for hackers. There's already a growing community of watch face designers, and some clever folks are dabbling with Tasker integration via unofficial Android apps. I honestly don't know too much about this, but the very fact that there's homebrew interest in the Bip bodes well for its future.

    Lets you BYOB (bring your own band). Forget Apple and Fitbit's proprietary crap; with the Bip you get a standard 20mm quick-release silicon strap, which can be swapped out for any other 20mm band. Just like a real watch!

    So there, in a nutshell, is a more in-depth look at the Amazfit Bip. It's far from perfect, of course—24-hour military time is currently the only available option. But for its display, battery life and sub-$100 price tag it's definitely worth a look.

    Links: Amazfit Bip on Amazfit USA, Gearbest, Geekbuying

    by Published on 04-09-2018 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on

    I've always had a soft spot for slider phones, and seeing this Doogee Mix 4 made me instantly want one. Where the BlackBerry Priv hides a physical qwerty keyboard that slides out from the bottom of its big screen, the Mix 4 hides the selfie cam, earpiece and the usual sensors in a slab the slides out from the top.

    Why? Because more screen, that's why!

    Here's the Mix 4 next to a Samsung Galaxy S9+. The Mix 4 has a downright astonishing screen to body ratio of 97%, versus a relatively paltry 84.2% for the Samsung. As a reference, the screen to body ratio for the iPhone X is about 83%.

    To fully appreciate the Mix 4—which I should probably mention is only a prototype at this point—you should probably watch this unboxing and demo:

    A cursory check of XDA indicates that there are at least a couple of unofficial TWRP recoveries available for previous Mix devices; if this Mix 4 comes to market in its current form I'm betting it'll prove popular enough to get rooted soon after.

    Additional Sources: Android Police, The Next Web

    by Published on 04-03-2018 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    If this rumor turns out to be true then Google is going to have a grey market sensation on its hands.

    The Economic Times of India reports that Mountain View is planning a big sales push into the subcontinent—which, last time I checked, was the second largest smartphone market in the world. The initiative will include official sales channels for Google's high-end Pixelbook, Google Home and other home automation products and apparently a mid-range Pixel phone as well.

    SlashGear thinks that the phone will be revealed this summer, and cites the HTC Desire 12 as a reference for specs:

    5.5 inch, 720 x 1440 pixel display
    MediaTek MT6739 processor
    2 or 3 GB RAM, 32 GB storage + microSD
    13 megapixels rear-facing camera
    2,730 mAh battery

    While I agree that a mid-range Pixel would most likely be built by HTC talent, those specs seem a bit underwhelming in a market where overachieving OnePlus phones (for example) seem to do quite well.

    One thing's for sure: if there is to be a made-for-India Pixel it will almost certainly require dual SIM support, and will therefore never come to the Americas. At least not from your carrier.

    Sources: The Economic Times of India, SlashGear

    by Published on 03-29-2018 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    This is no leak; if you're looking for leaks, see below.

    The image above is the first official rendering of the OnePlus 6, shared with The Verge so that the Chinese Android OEM can explain their rather obvious homage to the iPhone X—that is, the dreaded notch. Apple wasn't actually first to market with this contentious design choice; that honour goes to Andy Rubin's Essential Phone. Apple's decision to go that same route, however, has legitimized it enough for Google to include notch support in its next version of Android.

    As for OnePlus specifically, here are Carl Pei's thoughts on the subject:

    In his mind, the question of whether to have a notch at all is a foregone conclusion. OnePlus, like every other phone maker opting to go this design route, sees it as adding more screen real estate instead of taking anything away. “What you are essentially doing is moving the entire notification bar up, giving users more content on their screen.”
    Fair enough. However... in exchange for a notched display Apple pretty much removed all other bezels from their iPhone X. If the leaked images below are legit, that doesn't quite seem to be the case for the OnePlus 6.

    OnePlus is nonetheless claiming a notch-assisted 90% screen to body ratio, compared to 80.5% for the OnePlus 5T. I'm not sure what's going on with the different finishes on the back; the glass version leaked on a Chinese site last February, and the textured back was tweeted by Evan Blass yesterday.

    Sources: Android Police, The Verge

    by Published on 03-28-2018 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on

    Here's the latest Android Wear—sorry, Wear OS smartwatch beside my trusty Pebble Time Steel. Note the similarity in size. Similarities in thickness and weight are perhaps less apparent but trust me, they're closely matched as well. I think that's a pretty big deal; this Skagen Falster is the most reasonably-sized Android-powered smartwatch that I've ever worn.

    It doesn't look too shabby, either.

    Despite past nasty comments about Android Wear, there is a certain elegance in not having to rely on a third-party app to connect your watch to your phone. The Falster itself exudes a similar elegance. Such things are subjective, I know, but I'm definitely a fan of Skagen's minimalist watchfaces. The Falster seems to be geared towards the world traveller; support for multiple time zones is a recurring theme among the default face selection.

    This smartwatch is also practical. Those shiny stainless steel lugs will actually support any 20mm band, and the included leather or mesh strap has quick release pins for added convenience.

    A more in-depth review of the Falster by Android Police criticizes its small battery and big price. I can't really comment on the battery yet as I'm still on my first full charge; I guess that in itself is a good sign. I do agree that at $275 USD and $365 CAD it's expensive, but there are two ways to consider that. You could say that without a heart rate sensor or NFC for Android—sorry, Google Pay, Skagen is charging too much for too little. However, you could also say that you're paying a premium for a piece of wearable technology that's actually wearable.

    That's how I'm feeling about the Skagen Falster right now; I'm definitely smitten. Guess we'll just have to see how long that lasts.

    Links: Android Police, Best Buy Canada, Skagen USA

    by Published on 03-26-2018 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers

    I can still remember the early 2000s, those dark days before the arrival of the modern smartphone, when I could visit the magazine section of my local book shop and more often than not find some sort of buyer's guide for mobile phones. Some of these guides where imported from the UK, others from the US. And most of them are by now long gone.

    So it's with a bit of nostalgia that I present to you today the winners of a recent readers' choice survey conducted by PCMag. It's not a dedicated-to-mobile publication like the titles of old, but it's a buyer's guide nonetheless (for whatever that's worth). Here then, are the PCMag Readers' Choice Smartphone and Carrier Awards for 2018:

    Winner, Mobile Operating System: Google Android
    Available as the platform for nearly every non-Apple phone on the market, Android again earns the Readers' Choice Award, as it's done every year since 2014. Android users are more satisfied than their iOS counterparts with their platform's reliability as well as many other key measures of smartphone use.

    Winner, Smartphone: OnePlus
    Before you make your next phone purchase, you owe it to yourself to check out OnePlus. The company's phones may not have the most cutting-edge features, but they're solid, affordable phones that, according to our survey respondents, do one thing better than any other phone brand – thrill their customers.

    Winners, Mobile Carriers: Consumer Cellular
    This year marks the fifth straight year that Consumer Cellular has won the Readers' Choice Award. While the company targets its advertising towards seniors, anyone can take advantage of Consumer Cellular's competitively priced service.

    Winners, Mobile Carriers: Google Project Fi
    Project Fi's unique approach of taking advantage of multiple carriers' networks continues to resonate with its customers, allowing it to deliver excellent coverage and speed at competitive prices. If you enjoy using Android phones, you should definitely give Project Fi a close look.

    For more information, including the most popular devices for each American carrier, see the link immediately below.

    Source: PCMag

    by Published on 03-22-2018 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. News

    2018 is shaping up to be a rough year for Huawei's U.S. operations. The Chinese company, widely recognized as the world's third largest smartphone OEM behind Samsung and Apple, was set to sell its Mate10 Pro through AT&T before that carrier backed out of the deal. Now they're about to lose another American retail partner; CNET reports that Best Buy will cease all sales of Huawei products over the next few weeks, and cancel any orders for new stock.

    Americans, like Canadians, tend to finance their smartphone hardware through their carriers, so you could certainly argue that the fallout with AT&T was a bigger deal. Also, you can still buy Huawei phones unlocked through the likes of Amazon and Newegg. What you can't do with either of those online vendors, however, is see and handle your potential Huawei purchase on a physical store shelf.

    Best Buy won't officially comment on their decision, but it almost certainly has something to do with security concerns expressed by the CIA, FBI and NSA over Chinese firms. Huawei, on the other hand, has lots to say:

    "Our products and solutions are used by major carriers, Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of millions of consumers in more than 170 countries around the world," said a spokesman. "We have earned the trust of our partners across the global value chain."
    In case you were wondering it's still business as usual for Huawei in Canada, though there have been some security concerns raised here as well.

    Source: CNET, Globe and Mail

    by Published on 03-21-2018 08:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Apps

    It's been almost a week since Google officially rebranded Android Wear to Wear OS, and tech blogs are unimpressed. Today I'll highlight two recent editorials on the subject, one with helpful but misguided suggestions for Google, and the other with some shade-throwing that, quite by accident, pretty much nails what I believe to be Mountain View's master plan.

    Android Central: Android Wear needs way more than just a Wear OS rebrand

    AC's editorial has two recommendations for Google: overhaul Google Fit and make a Pixel watch.

    While it's probably true that Google Fit is somewhat lacking for the hardcore fitness enthusiast, the article conveniently ignores the existence of third-party apps like Endomondo, Runkeeper, Strava and many more—all of which work with Wear OS. Google Fit is perfectly fine for the fitness dilettante, like myself.

    As for a Pixel watch, that would be almost certainly be a gift from the heavens for Pixel zealots, and of no consequence to the wider addressable audience for wearables. Remember that Nokia-powered Android phones, barely available in North America, outsold their Pixel counterparts last year. Would a Pixel-branded smartwatch do any better? I don't see how.

    Gizmodo: Google's Smartwatch Program Is a Mess, and a Name Change Won't Fix That

    Gizmodo's anti-Ware OS screed spends a lot of time looking down its nose at Fossil Group and other traditional watch OEMs:

    Almost all of the big Android Wear device makers such as Motorola, LG, and Asus have given up on the platform, leaving Android Wear in the hands of fashion brands that neither have the vision nor the technological know-how to advance smartwatch tech.
    Well, there's certainly one thing that fashion brands know how to do: design a timepiece that doesn't look like a gadget. Looks are entirely subjective, of course, but put any of the aforementioned Asus, LG or Motorola smartwatches beside anything from a traditional watchmaker and you can immediately see which one was designed by an electronics company.

    I've said this before and I'll say it here again: the future of Wear OS is under the hood of a Casio, Fossil, TAG Heuer or whatever your favourite watch brand happens to be. For the present, it arms these watchmakers with an alternative to the Apple Watch; for the future, it gives every watch-wearer to ability to see notifications on their wrist. The Wear OS rebranding is ultimately just marketing, and that's fine with me. It's a less-geeky way to pitch the tech under that pretty watchface.

    Links: Android Central, Gizmodo, Wareable

    by Published on 03-09-2018 08:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    Famous phone leaker Evan Blass has, for the moment, turned his prying eyes to smartwatches and has come up with this, the Fitbit Versa. It's not the first time we've seen this newer, cheaper and less fugly version of the Ionic. Nine days ago Wareable posted a gallery of the then-unnamed device; they've since updated their post to include the new information from Blass.

    Available in black, charcoal, rose gold and silver, the Versa will run the same Fitbit OS as the Ionic, but in a smaller and more female-friendly form factor. It will be water resistant to 50mm and, like the Ionic, will include an SpO2 sensor able to monitor sleep apnea once Fitbit enables that feature. The one thing it won't have on its spec sheet is GPS.

    If you think the Versa bears more than a passing resemblance to the Pebble Time Steel you're not wrong. In fact, someone told Wareable that Pebble had a touchscreen watch in development before they were bought up by Fitbit.

    The Versa is expected to go on sale this spring, and will almost certainly retail for less than the $300 USD Ionic.

    Sources: Evan Blass via Android Police, Wareable

    by Published on 03-07-2018 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on

    ... Which Apple in turn copied from the Palm Pre. And the cycle of tech "innovation" continues.

    What I'm talking about here is gesture-based navigation, currently all the rage on the latest fruit phone. As luck would have it, it's also an option on the latest Open Beta of OxygenOS for the OnePlus 5T—the one without the capacitive buttons and front-facing fingerprint sensor / home button. Here's a close-up of my current home screen running the beta:

    Notice the complete absence of software navigation buttons. It doesn't seem like such a big deal at first, but it very quickly makes my FHD+ screen feel bigger and the entire OS more modern. A few more examples:

    Here's what typing looks like with the navigation buttons enabled...

    ... And here's what it looks like without. To be fair, a dark background behind the navigation buttons would make them look a lot better, but still not nearly as elegant as not having them at all.The gestures themselves are intuitive enough that they'll very quickly become second nature. Here's all you need to know:

    Home screen - swipe up from bottom-centre and release;
    App switcher - swipe up from bottom-centre and hold;
    Go back - swipe up from bottom-left or bottom-right and release.

    If still unclear, here are the gestures in action, courtesy of Droid Life:

    I wouldn't yet call it perfect on the OnePlus. If you've never seen the navigational aid that Apple has on their iPhone X, it's a thin black strip at the bottom of the screen from which you can begin your swipe upwards. On the 5T there's no such aid, and swiping successfully can sometimes take a couple of tries. Yet I am convinced that this is a much better way to get around your phone. Hopefully this feature will make it to a stable build of OxygenOS, and to other Android phones as well.

    Links: Android Central, OnePlus Forums

    by Published on 03-06-2018 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis

    If you frequent either Amazon.ca or Amazon.com you'd be forgiven for thinking that they were already here. But China's number two smartphone OEM has plans far beyond grey market imports; according to the Wall Street Journal they're planning to raise up to a hundred billion dollars in an IPO on U.S. markets, and shortly afterwards will start selling their Android-powered phones and other gear through an official North American sales channel.

    Based on Huawei's recent troubles I wouldn't expect any carrier partners for Xiaomi phones, either; fortunately there's not so much sticker shock when it comes to their hardware, so carrier financing and/or subsidies aren't as critical to sales. That's my big hope here, that Xiaomi will have enough success with sub-$1,000 devices that Samsung, Google and Apple will take notice.

    Apple in particular might also take notice of MIUI, the inspired-by-iOS ROM developed at a time when other versions of Android lacked polish. But there are plenty of other Android OEMs also blatantly copying iOS, and they haven't been sued yet. We'll have to wait and see, I guess.

    By the way, the WSJ source lives behind a paywall, and my Google search trick to break it no longer seems to work. Fortunately, a helpful redditor on r/Android has done us all a favour and copy/pasted the text of the article right here.

    Source: Wall Street Journal via r/Android

    by Published on 03-05-2018 06:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis

    With another Mobile World Congress come and gone it's time to get caught up on other smartphone-related stories of note. Almost two weeks ago Computerworld took a deep dive into the muddled waters of software updates, grading six Android OEMs on their Oreo OTAs and communication with their customers. To quote the author, such upgrades are basically "a big, hot mess".

    Here's a summary of the report card, ranked from best to worst:

    Google: A (94%)
    Current flagship upgraded in 9 days (60/60 points)
    Previous flagship upgraded in 18 days (29/30 points)
    Mediocre communication (5/10 points)

    OnePlus: D (65%)
    Current flagship upgraded in 138 days (41/60 points)
    Previous flagship upgraded in 91 days (24/30 points)
    Poor communication (0/10 points)

    HTC: F (49%)
    Current flagship upgraded in 99 days (47/60 points)
    Still waiting for upgrade to previous flagship (0/30 points)
    Poor communication (2/10 points)

    Motorola: F (45%)
    Current flagship upgraded in 124 days (43/60 points)
    Still waiting for upgrade to previous flagship (0/30 points)
    Poor communication (2/10 points)

    LG: F (0%)
    Still waiting for upgrade to current flagship (0/60 points)
    Still waiting for upgrade to previous flagship (0/30 points)
    Poor communication (0/10 points)

    Samsung: F (0%)
    Still waiting for upgrade to current flagship (0/60 points)
    Still waiting for upgrade to previous flagship (0/30 points)
    Poor communication (0/10 points)

    You can read the whole story at the link below. And feel free to add your own upgrade experience with any OEM not listed here.

    Source: Computerworld

    by Published on 03-02-2018 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Our MWC 2018 coverage ends with this concept phone by Vivo called the Apex—or, to follow the letter of its press release, the APEX™ FullView™. Vivo is one of three brands owned by BBK Electronics, and while it's theoretically possible that we'll see this pop-up selfie cam on a future OnePlus device, it's more likely to be a feature for China-only phones. That camera assembly is motor-driven, by the way, and takes less than a second to lock into place.

    You'll recall that Vivo was the first OEM to market with an in-display fingerprint sensor on the X20 Plus UD; the Apex improves on that effort by making a full third of the screen fingerprint friendly. If preferred the user can also unlock the phone with two thumbprints simultaneously, for extra security.

    All this tech lives behind a display with an astonishing 98% screen to body ratio. You really need to see it in action to appreciate it, so here's a video overview by The Verge.

    Sources: Engadget, The Verge (1) (2), Vivo

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    Thanks for information.

    Thanks for information.

    amirkhan8 Today, 01:41 AM Go to last post

    good question happy to read the answer and...

    good question happy to read the answer and helpful for my knowledge.

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    I Believe that price is only with Google fi service is it? Force you to buy the service with the device?

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