In this edition of the Friday Debate, we discuss the unthinkable: what would happen if there were no Android? We’d all should adopt other mobile platforms, like it or not. So, what would that competing operating system be in your case? iOS, BB10, WP, Ubuntu Touch, Firefox OS. something else?
If you had to admit defeat Android today, what device would you buy and why? Is there a function on a non-Android equipment that you secretly crave?
Join us in the discussion, vote in our poll, and sound off in the comments!
We rapidly forget that the mobile market is a two horse race suitable now. Android is taking the position that Windows has on the desktop and iOS is filling its niche. BB10 is a sinking send and despite Microsoft’s pretty futile attempts at making Windows Phone relevant, the operating system has yet to make a severe dent in the market. In the extremely unlikely experience that I had to leave Android (at least extremely unlikely on a phone, tablets are a total new ball game), I’d potentially move to iOS. There are a few very good purposes for the move to iOS over Windows Phone.
My first cause is that it really has extra apps over Windows Phone and better games while compared to Android (but I’m not too enormous of a mobile gamer so it’s not enough to sway me from Android devoid of being forced to leave). The second and biggest cause I’d choose iOS over Windows Phone is that I am a truly huge Google offerings user. while Android continues to be slightly above iOS whilst it comes to Google services, iOS is head and shoulders above Windows Phone. As a user of Google Drive, Gmail, Play Music, Google Plus, Chrome and a Chromebook as my primary laptop just to name a few, going to Windows Phone would be disastrous for me. That being said, if there were to be one phone that would pull me away from Android, it would ironically be a Windows Phone. The Nokia Lumia 1020, as I’ve said before, gives me a reason to put up with the overly simplistic, reside tile UI. Its camera is conveniently stunning, and no other smartphone camera comes close. As some distance as features are concerned, there aren’t very many that I crave. Android, in its robust feature set and customizability, can give me almost all that I’d ever desire, but when there was one feature that I’d like on Android, it’s the four finger swipe to swap between apps/five finger pinch to close app on the iPad.
With all the talk of a large screen iPhone 6 this year, and potentially more in the years to follow, it’s got me wondering — how big is too big? One of the arguments for a big screen iPhone is that it would better serve people who need a phone but want only one primary computing device. A 4.3- to 5-inch iPhone could satisfy them, but what about a 7.9-inch Retina iPad mini with Phone.app installed as well?
Unlike Samsung and some other manufacturers who include phone apps on their tablets, Apple currently keeps Phone functionality — among other things — off the iPad. Nevertheless, thanks to third-party apps, I’ve used the iPad mini as a pseudo-phone several times.
While not ideal, if phone functionality wasn’t anywhere near the top of my list, the bigger screen size might just make up for the awkwardness. Thanks to Bluetooth and headsets, it’s not as if you’d have to hold it to your head like an 80s-style boom box. You’d just have to tap the Phone app and make a call with all the convenience of an iPhone and all the advantages of the bigger screen.
FaceTime audio makes it possible, so do apps like Skype or even Google Hangouts. But Phone.app is the real deal. The same thing the iPhone has, that any phone has.
The question is — would an iPad with Phone.app be something you’d want?
Rumors for the a lot expected X-Phone joint effort device from Google and Motorola are starting to warmth up. whilst we’ve been reporting little tidbits right here and there lately, today we have extra rumors which match previous reviews and we’re getting excited.
to begin it looks like Google’s I/O experience on could 15th is whilst the X-Phone will be revealed to the world, but read on for more details. Rumors have been floating around on the X-Phone because the WSJ originally leaked the details, and today sources claim to literally have a friend making use of and testing the new smartphone. Yup, according to PhoneArena’s tipster the device is in the wild and being validated by some lucky souls. Now what would a rumor be without some juicy details? Lets dig into those.
According to the source the X-Phone has some pretty bold specs, but we already knew that going in. back in January we reported on a might release date and a 5-inch display, but today we’re getting slightly conflicting reports. This source says Motorola and Google have determined on a 4. 8-inch 1920 x 1080p full HD display, will reveal it at I/O on May 15th, and it may even sport the very good Sony Exmor camera sensor. Apple’s exclusivity contract has ended, and we can be expecting that camera sensor to make its way into multiple handsets early this year. Google’s big focus lately on Android smartphones has been for durability, and battery life. The X-Phone will address both of those. the use of Motorola’s outstanding Kevlar design for extreme durability and splash-guard water-resistance mixed in with a battery like the RAZR MAXX HD (3,300 mAh) the new X-Phone will reportedly rock.
If you need to be able to record calls from your BlackBerry 10 device, there are a few options available in BlackBerry World. One of those is Phone Tap that comes from the developer of Hub++. You may have seen the app in our list of headless apps, something that has made the app even more appealing to some people.
The Wall Street Journal confirms in a new report that Nokia is going to release an Android-powered smartphone at the Mobile World Congress later this month.
The device will be “tailored in a way that won’t promote some of the key Google-developed features that a more traditional Android-powered phone might”, say people familiar with the matter cited by the WSJ. In other words, despite some speculation of the contrary, Nokia is indeed forking Android, and its devices won’t be compatible with Google’s Play store and other set of applications. Instead of Google’s apps like Gmail and Maps, the device will feature apps from Nokia and Microsoft, including the Here map service and the Mix Radio music service. Nokia will also be offering an app store of its offering Android apps.
As previously reported, Nokia was working on this Android fork back when Microsoft was preparing to make an offer for the Finnish company in the summer of last year. Microsoft is said to have several reasons for using Android along with its own Windows Phone operating system, including the need to utilize Nokia’s manufacturing capabilities and to offset some of the high costs of running its mobile division. Another big reason is, according to the WSJ’s sources, the fact that Windows Phone cannot run on low-end devices, forcing Microsoft to be “pragmatic” and adopt software made by its fiercest competitor for the entry-level smartphone segment.
Nokia sent out invitations for an MWC event scheduled for the morning of February 24, which in the light of this report, seems a safe bet for the debut of Normandy. The theme of the event is “Under the Tree”, a possible clue to the commercial name of Nokia’s forked Android implementation.
Will be at MWC 2014, and Nokia will definitely be high on our priority list. What do you hope to see?
Even if you don’t like Apple, it’s hard to not like Steve Wozniak. The Apple co-founder is no longer part of the day-to-day operations of Apple, but he always has plenty to say.
Wozniak is a major Apple fan but he’s also not afraid to call Apple out on its weaknesses. Whether he’s talking smack about Siri, saying that Apple is behind the times or speaking out against the patent wars — things are never boring around the Woz. Granted sometimes the things WoZ says are more than a little out there in left field, and the Apple co-founder’s most recent comments certainly fall into that category.
In an interview with WIRED, Wozniak spoke on a broad range of Apple-related topics, but it was his remarks about the idea of Apple building an Android handset that really stood out.
In the long run, it’s hard to imagine who this Frankensteinian iAndroid device would appeal to.
“There’s nothing that would keep Apple out of the Android market as a secondary phone market,” said Wozniak. “We could compete very well. People like the precious looks of stylings and manufacturing that we do in our product compared to the other Android offerings. We could play in two arenas at the same time.”
Now its important to note that WoZ doesn’t necessarily think Apple will actually make such a move or even that they should, he’s just musing at the possibility and noting that Apple could do it. He also believes Apple would be able to compete very well because of Apple’s hardware quality. It’s true that Apple has the power and means to build an Android device, as nothing is stopping, at least from a technical standpoint.
Android is open-source, anyone can use it. That said, we can’t imagine Google would be all that willing to hand over Google Play certification to such a product, so the aPhone would probably need its own Appstore for Android, or it would have to partner with someone like Amazon.
In the long run, it’s hard to imagine who this Frankensteinian iAndroid device would appeal to, especially without Play services. Perhaps as a device for emerging markets that would have iOS-like characteristics and a budget oriented price tag (sort of like the idea behind Normandy)?
Musing aside, there’s no way such a device will ever come to pass. Even though Android has ate away at their global marketshare, there are still tons of Apple faithful out there that are more than happy to keep buying iPhones that run on iOS. We don’t expect this situation anytime soon, either.
Still, in a crazy alternate universe where such a device was given the green light, would you consider an Apple-built handset if it ran Android and supported the Play store? Do you agree with WoZ’s assessment that Android users want “the precious looks of sylings” that Apple has to offer? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
If you want cutting edge technology at a fraction of the usual price then you can find it in the Chinese market. We saw a range of impressive smartphones, phablets, and tablets from Chinese manufacturers like Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE, and Alcatel at CES this year. Apart from fast processors, big HD screens, and buckets of battery life, do you know what all these flagships had in common? No definite release details for the U.S. and most of Europe.
What’s the problem here? Is the carrier oligopoly shutting them out? Are patent disputes a problem? Is it just down to a lack of effort and marketing muscle?
Not for you
Casting an eye back to CES 2013 reveals a similar pattern; a wave of impressive Chinese smartphones that caused a few raised eyebrows in the tech press, but never landed in the West, or touched down late and in a very limited fashion.
TCL-Alcatel was the perfect example this year unveiling the One Touch Idol X+ with a 2GHz MediaTek octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a 5-inch 1080p display, 16GB or 32GB of storage, a 13.1MP main camera, a 2MP front camera, and a 2,500 mAh rated battery. That’s impressive on paper by any standards and do you know what the R.R.P. on that phone is? 0.
I’ll just let that sink in for a minute. Two hundred and fifty dollars.
You may immediately think that build quality will be poor. Actually the design is pretty good; it’s only 7.9mm thick, exactly the same as the Galaxy S4. Check out our hands-on look to see for yourself.
There was no news about a U.S. release for this phone; instead we heard that Alcatel’s last flagship, the Idol X would be landing on Bell and Virgin Mobile in Canada. Americans can buy it direct from Alcatel’s website. The first European market to get the new follow-up, the Idol X+, is going to be Russia.
Those pesky carriers
In the U.S. and much of Europe it’s the norm to pay nothing, or a seriously reduced upfront fee, and be locked into a two-year contract to get a brand new smartphone. You’ll typically end up paying more over the length of the contract than you would for a SIM-free handset, but your service is mixed in and it means you can get expensive phones without having to save up. This system gives carriers a lot of power.
If OEMs want U.S. carriers to stock their wares there’s often an expectation that they’ll give them some sort of exclusive deal, or that they’ll create a special version. Many manufacturers start out building carrier relationships by allowing the carrier to put their branding on the device, HTC did this with T-Mobile. Verizon built a strong Droid brand with Motorola and HTC. Samsung’s original Galaxy S was branded ten different ways in the U.S. to satisfy all the carriers and there were some subtle and some fairly major differences between the variations.
When consumers want your device, as with the iPhone, and you’ve built some bridges with carriers, like Samsung and HTC did, then you can expect them to be less demanding. They’ll throw some marketing weight behind your flagship and give it shelf space, although they’re always going to want a decent markup.
Are people asking U.S carriers where they can get the Lenovo Vibe Z, Alcatel One Touch Idol X+, or the Huawei Ascend Mate 2? Obviously not. You need to offer carriers something to sweeten the deal and work on marketing to build brand awareness. If a company like Sony is finding it hard to break onto the radar of U.S. carriers then you can imagine how tough it might be for lesser known Chinese OEMs. You may even wonder if it’s worth their time and effort.
Where’s the market?
There’s a reason that analysts keep going on about emerging markets. The smartphone market in the West is saturated. Take a look at this recent IDC report and you’ll see that Huawei came third and Lenovo came fifth in overall worldwide smartphone market share for 2013. TCL-Alcatel and ZTE will undoubtedly have made the top ten. Then there’s Xiaomi and Oppo.
All these manufacturers are doing pretty well out of the Asia Pacific market and many of them have made inroads in Latin America and Eastern Europe. There have also been some movies into India and Africa. That’s where the customers are right now. So, why do they want to break into Western markets?
Low prices and direct sales are commonplace in other markets and there is a big difference between market share and profit. Taking the two most extreme examples in Q3 of 2013 the average selling price for a TCL-Alcatel handset was , the ASP for the iPhone was 1 (the lowest it’s ever been, having since climbed back up to 7).
The potential for profit is an obvious driving force, but even if Chinese manufacturers can build bridges with carriers, there are other obstacles to overcome.
Deck stacked against them
We don’t think the patent war is a major barrier here. All the big smartphone manufacturers are suing each other; most of the big Chinese players are engaged in lawsuits amongst themselves. Huawei just settled with the Apple and Microsoft backed Rockstar consortium. This might factor into the cost of doing business in the U.S. and Europe, but it’s not going to block entry.
What have been far more damaging are the repeated spying allegations leveled at Huawei, ZTE, and Lenovo. It all seems pretty hypocritical in light of the torrent of revelations about how the American and British governments have been spying on everyone, but mud-slinging has an impact. Huawei has given up on the telecommunications equipment market in the U.S. and it was actually banned in Australia, the fact that’s separate from its smartphone business won’t register with a lot of people.
All the Chinese manufacturers accused have been quick to deny the allegations, just as Apple and Google were quick to deny any involvement with PRISM. You still have to figure that the idea of Chinese government involvement with these companies is off-putting for many. It’s another hurdle to jump if they want to attract customers and it’s another disincentive for carriers to strike deals with them.
Google opens the door
There’s been plenty of talk about Google’s influence on driving down smartphone prices with the Nexus range and through Motorola with phones like the Moto G. Google has definitely shown that direct sales to consumers are another way to go, if the price is right. If people are prepared to buy direct from them, then Chinese manufacturers can gain a foothold that way.
Then there’s the news that Google will sell Motorola to Lenovo. This is going to be a really interesting test case. The first question is whether it will be allowed to pass. Lenovo was blocked from buying BlackBerry by the Canadian government, reportedly over national security concerns. Early indications are that the deal will go ahead, but not without some concessions.
Will Lenovo inherit Motorola’s existing carrier relations? Can it buy its way into the U.S. market with this move and start selling its own hardware with the Motorola logo? Lenovo could be the first Chinese manufacturer to make a serious breakthrough in the U.S. smartphone market.
The truth is that regardless of the branding on your smartphone, most, if not all, of it was probably manufactured in China. As Chinese manufacturers get better at producing premium hardware, cutting the middleman out of the equation could be inevitable, and it will mean cheaper smartphones all around. Some people may balk at that prospect, but voting with your hard-earned cash is what will count and who doesn’t love a bargain?
Welcome to this week’s edition of Android Q&A! As always, we try to answer as many of your great questions as possible. This week, we talk about the best Android phone under 0, some battery saving tips, Qualcomm Snapdragon vs MediaTek SoCs, and more. Let’s get started!
I am on 0-400 budget on my next phone. Which one should I get? – MrGarchomp123
The best Android smartphones within the budget you’re looking for are the Nexus 5 and the Motorola Moto X. The Nexus 5 offers the best solution for anyone looking for a high-end device at a great price, and what the Moto X lacks in specifications, it more than makes up for with user experience and some very useful features.
If you’re hoping to save some money, you should definitely take a look at the new line of Asus Zenfone smartphones, that won Android Authority’s Best Smartphone(s) of CES 2014, as well as the Moto G. You’ll find a bunch of useful review and first look videos in the playlist below.
Battery saving is always a hot topic for Android users, and many apps like Battery Doctor recommend a full cycle charge at least once a month. How much merit is there to this? I have come across mixed opinions. – sirjargon1
While some pundits and blogs may say that it is a good idea to do a full cycle charge, the cold hard fact is that each lithium-ion battery comes with a limited number of cycles. The best way to prolong the battery life is to keep the charge between 10% and 90%, or even 20% and 80%, depending on what is more convenient to you. Granted, you don’t have to fanatical about this, and it’s okay to charge the battery fully. But try and avoid discharging the battery completely, as well as not keeping the phone plugged in for a long time, once it is fully charged. You can find out more about how to prolong your li-ion battery life here.
Which processor is actually better and faster for phones? Snapdragon or Mediatek? I heard that mostly MediaTek’s processors are slow and often lag, while Snapdragon does its job at its very best. – Andrew Beh Jian Yuan
The simple answer is that the Qualcomm Snapdragon processors are the higher performing one compared to (equivalent) MediaTek SoCs, and has been seen consistently not only in benchmarks, but general real world performance as well. That being said, the Snapdragon processors are generally more expensive, and is mostly found in high-end devices like the HTC One, Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 3, Xperia Z1, and others. On the other hand, the MediaTek processors may be slower, but are also more cost effective, and allows OEMs to manufacture budget-friendly devices that still have sought-after features like quad-core processors.
And, it has to be said that the current crop of MediaTek processors are a far better option than anything that was available in budget devices over the past few years. If you want to find examples of cheap devices featuring quad-core, and even octa-core, MediaTek processors, all you need to do is look at smartphones that are proving to be quite popular in China and India.
We love answering your amazing questions here during the Android Q&A show, but here’s our question for you -
Why did Google sell Motorola Mobility’s hardware division to Lenovo for .9 billion, when Google bought the company two years ago for more than billion? What is going on?
Send in your answers, for a chance to pick up some great Android Authority gear!
As always, keep sending us your questions in the comments section below, in the comments section of the Youtube video, or on Google+, and we’ll try our best to get you the answers you need. See you next week!
The NFL has joined the WWE in giving sports (or sports entertainment, in the latter case) fans a chance to watch their favorite athletes at any time, anywhere.
NFL Now will bring personalized football content to all smartphones, tablets, computers, and Xbox Ones for free starting this summer. Well, almost every device, the NFL announcement makes it sound like the service is only available on Verizon phones in the U.S. It’s available on any carrier outside the U.S., though.
The idea of the service is that players will be able to select their favorite team, the players on their fantasy team, and what sort of videos they like and dislike to get the best possible football media experience.
The personalization aspect means you won’t have to wade through all of the video content the NFL produces to get just what you want. You won’t have to sift through all the Dolphins highlights (because let’s face it, there really aren’t any) just to get to the Jets highlights and analysis. And the ability to select fantasy players means you can easily get all the Danny Woodhead stats and videos you want without looking at anything else from the Chargers.
Like the WWE Network, NFL Now will have a huge catalog of video content to choose from at any time. The sheer vole of content including news, analysis, and highlights means you probably won’t run out of content on the free service easily.
Unlike WWE’s service, however, the NFL won’t let users watch live events on NFL Now. While WWE will give its fans access to every PPV event for a month, there’s no option to use NFL Now to watch games like on your phone.
There is a paid version of NFL Now called NFL Now Plus, but there’s no details as to what the extra money will get you. Maybe it strips out the ads? Gillette is one of the launch partners for NFL Now, so expect lots of shaving bade ads on the service, unless there’s a chance to get rid of them.
Even with the limitations, NFL Now sounds like a great app for football fans. Will you try it when it comes out later this year?
Smartphones are already changing the way we browse the web, play games, conduct business, communicate and so much more. Now it looks like smartphones could also change up the way we check into hotels and unlock our rooms as well.
The Starwood hotel group has announced a new update to its Starwood Preferred Guest app that will allow ‘preferred guests’ to bypass the the hotel check-in process and go directly to their rooms, unlocking the door using a smartphone, and effectively eliminating the need for a card key.
The app will work on all Android 4.3 or higher handsets (as well as iOS) using Bluetooth technology, and the tech will first be tested at two Aloft hotels, one in Harlem and the other in Silicon Valley. If all goes well with the pilot program, we could be looking at a full rollout to Starwood hotel group’s W and Aloft hotels worldwide by the end of 2015.
Just like the modern card key did before it, the smartphone unlock system might be starting small, but it has huge potential. We imagine it is only a matter of time before other major hotel groups start their own similar trial programs.
If this becomes an industry standard over the course of the next few years, travelers are looking at a quicker and more convenient way to ‘check in’ to their rooms. On the downside, such a move also has the potential to cut jobs, as the new instant check-in system might mean hotels will need fewer employees at the front desk.
What do you think of the idea of checking in and unlocking hotel rooms directly from your Android device? Like the idea, or feel that the current card key system is more than good enough?