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Apple Just Killed Google’s Killer Phone Feature: Pixel 4 Review

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Google’s Pixel smartphones have always been defined by iPhone-beating cameras, backed by the know-how of its software coders. With the release of the Pixel 4, however, the company has lost its lead — through a combination of Apple Inc.’s iPhone 11 camera improvements and its own lack of progress.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google is selling the Pixel 4 through all four major U.S. wireless carriers for the first time. And it’s priced like a premium device: the 5.7-inch Pixel 4 starts at $799 and the 6.3-inch Pixel 4 XL costs $899. That’s at least $100 more than the iPhone 11 but without software like iMessage that many Apple users consider a social imperative in the U.S.

With the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro, Apple closed the photography gap with better low-light image quality. Its camera software also makes those photos easier to take by automatically enabling night mode when required. Apple remains way ahead of any other phone maker when it comes to video quality.

Deprived of its signature advantage, the Pixel 4 struggles to stand out in a crowded smartphone market. The design — including materials, proportions and screen bezels — is utilitarian. When compared with more polished handsets from Apple and Samsung Electronics Co., the Pixel 4 is unremarkable. With a single-digit slice of the smartphone market, Google also lacks the user loyalty and inertia to keep selling without a killer feature.

Recent UBS research put only battery life above price as the top consumer buying consideration, and Google took a step back on that front in 2019. Both Pixel 4 devices have worse battery life than their 2018 predecessors, and both dramatically lag comparable iPhone 11 models. Users will reliably get through a day with the larger Pixel 4 XL, but Google reduced the battery size of the smaller Pixel 4, which makes it uncompetitive against flagship Android devices like the cheaper OnePlus 7 Pro.

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Pixel 4 smartphone.Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg

“To maintain a great fit in-hand, we shrunk the battery slightly from the prior Pixel 3 device. We then leaned more heavily on software to deliver all-day battery, and designed features accordingly,” a Google spokesman said.

Aside from Apple, Google is going up against Samsung’s juggernaut smartphone lineup and a legion of Chinese device makers with better specs and more aggressive, futuristic designs. OnePlus, Xiaomi Corp. and Huawei Technologies Co. offer better value for money with big batteries, super-fast charging, dual SIM card slots and even 5G wireless options. They can’t all match the Pixel’s camera, but they aren’t miles behind and Huawei also achieves outstanding low-light photos.

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Google’s Night Sight mode continues to be an impressive technical achievement, allowing the Pixel 4 to shoot low-light scenes with composure and very little image noise.Photographer: Vlad Savov/Bloomberg

Google created a camera zoom function that relies more on artificial intelligence than optical hardware. It works well and is a technical feat, but it’s not going to make the difference in stores. Google also introduced live transcription of calls and a new face-unlocking function with the Pixel 4, but those are nice extras rather than compelling reasons to own the latest device.

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When zoomed in using Google’s Super Res Zoom system, the camera loses only a little of its quality and retains its good color reproduction.Photographer: Vlad Savov/Bloomberg

The company has yet to answer the difficult question of how to market a software-powered machine in a world where hardware and specs are still the main differentiating factors for consumers. The same UBS research that ranked battery life as the top requirement put camera specs way down in 12th place. Digital assistants like Google’s Assistant barely registered in the survey.

Even if Google had retained its lead in both those categories, its path to selling more Pixels was never going to be through maintaining the status quo. The company needed to address a wider market than the tech and photography enthusiasts that have long been the Pixel’s core demographic, and it simply didn’t do so with the Pixel 4.

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In good lighting, the Pixel 4 continues a legacy of really sharp and contrasty photos with excellent dynamic range.Photographer: Vlad Savov/Bloomberg

Google’s longer-term aspirations for its smartphone line remain unclear, more than three years into the initiative. The company prices and markets Pixels like mainstream premium devices, including high-profile advertising during the NBA Finals earlier this year. But then it designs them like niche products with limited spec sheets and an austere appearance.

In a year when Apple is enjoying better-than-expected iPhone demand thanks to its new sweeteners of longer battery life and better cameras, Google has failed to make any comparable improvements. The company that is most able, and should be most motivated, to disrupt the smartphone status quo has let another year pass without truly committing to the task.

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-30/apple-just-killed-the-google-pixel-s-killer-feature-review

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Smartphone users spend $120 billion on mobile apps in 2019

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Smartphone users spent $120 billion on mobile apps, as 204 billion apps were downloaded in 2019, setting a record higher than that of 2018, the annual State of Mobile report has shown.

The annual report, “State of Mobile” by App Annie disclosed that the number of mobile apps downloaded climbed 6% to hit 204 billion when compared to 2018, while it increased by 45% in comparison to 2016 downloads. Note that the report didn’t factor in re-installation of apps and app updates.

The growth of mobile apps download was significantly aided by emerging countries where tech innovations are changing consumer behaviour, resulting in a high purchasing power that led to smartphone users spending $120 billion on apps.

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Emerging markets that aided growth: According to the report, the emerging countries that boosted the growth of apps downloaded globally are India, Brazil and Indonesia. These countries growth of 190%, 40% and 70%, respectively. However, China remains king in the download rate, as the Asian country recorded 80% growth.

Surprisingly, the growth of mobile apps download slowed by 5% in the United States while  some emerging markets were pulling double % growth. Although App Annie said the slow growth doesn’t mean users are not downloading as the US recorded more than 12.3 billion downloads in 2019, Japan recorded 2.5 billion apps download, while South Korea recorded 2 billion downloads; these countries are considered matured markets.

Apps spend by users: $120 billion was spent on games and subscription apps, but games accounted for 72 per cent of the consumer spend, while subscription (non-gaming apps) accounted for 28 per cent, compared to 2016 when it accounted for 18 per cent.

Dating apps like Tinder and video-on-demand (VOD) like Netflix and Tencent Video topped 2019’s consumer-spend charts due to its subscription revenue.

With $120 billion spent on the apps, matured markets like the US, United Kingdom, Japan, and South Korea fueled the growth in apps purchase, but China again, top the consumer spend, accounting for 40% of the $120 billion. Note that an average of 3.7 hours is spent on apps by users.

Source:
https://nairametrics.com/2020/01/16/smartphone-users-spend-120-billion-on-mobile-apps-in-2019/

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Is it worth buying the Galaxy Note 10 in 2020?

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Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ were two of the most powerful phones to be released last year, offering top-of-the-line performance, an incredible AMOLED display, the wildly popular S Pen, and much, much more.

It’s now 2020, however, and all eyes are on what Samsung’s going to do with the upcoming Galaxy S20 lineup. And, after that, it’ll be time to look forward to the Note 11/Note 20.

Even so, someone in our AC forums recently mentioned that they just picked up the Note 10+ and have really been enjoying it.

Source:
https://www.androidcentral.com/it-worth-buying-galaxy-note-10-2020

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What Is Android Mobile? Everything You Need To Know

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What is Android mobile? Basically, it is the operating system that runs on your smartphones and tablets. This article is going to go more in-depth about what Android mobile really is.

There are really only two mobile operating systems out there: Android and iOS. There are still some companies that are using proprietary software for some phones (mainly flip phones), but for the most part, there are only two options.

Android is of course, Google’s option.

What devices run Android mobile?

For the most part, smartphones and tablets run Android mobile. Most smartphone makers are using Android – with the exception of Apple – for their smartphones. So as long as you don’t have an iPad or iPhone, you most likely have Android mobile on your device.

Samsung uses Android for the majority of their smartphones and tablets. Though there are a few tablets that run Microsoft’s Windows, as well as a few smartphones that run Samsung’s own proprietary Tizen operating system.

What are the benefits of Android mobile?

One of the main benefits to using Android mobile is the flexibility of the operating system. Android mobile allows for almost endless customization. And that also means that smartphone makers can customize the operating system to their liking. Don’t like your home screen? You can download a launcher to change it. Don’t like Google keyboard (and its terrible name, “Gboard”)? You can download a new keyboard to use, like Swiftkey. These are just some of the customization features that Google offers.

Since Android runs on over 75-percent of smartphones in the world, it means that if your next smartphone is not from the same company as your current smartphone (i.e. you have a LG G6 now, and you upgrade to a Samsung Galaxy Note 10), it won’t be a huge difference in the experience, since it is running the same software at its core. Which would be Android.

For users, there are millions of apps available to download from the Google Play Store. No matter what you’re looking for, there is most likely an app for that. In fact, there are probably several apps for that. The Google Play Store (starting with Android 10) will also push out platform updates for your device. Making it easier to update your smartphone or tablet and keep it up to date.

There are many features that Android has that just makes using your smartphone much easier. Like Quick Settings. Instead of it being a swipe up gesture like on iOS, it’s in the notification pull-down. Making it easier to check notifications and turn off WiFi or adjust the brightness. These are also customizable. So if you don’t need the location toggle, you can get rid of it.Advertisement

Android also has dark mode. This has been available in Android 9 Pie for a little while, but Google made it system-wide in Android 10 (released in 2019). If you toggle on dark mode or “night mode” you’ll get a darker interface, which is not only better on the eyes but better on your smartphone’s battery. Many apps are now updating for dark mode too.

If you’ve ever missed a moment because it took to long to open your camera, well Android has solved that. Double-tapping your power button will automatically open the camera. So that you won’t miss that moment. Really important for those with kids.

These are just some of the very many features that Android has. Google is constantly making new features and improving the features it already has, to make life easier.Advertisement

What are Android “skins”?

Android “skins” or more commonly known as “overlays”, are an overlay that a manufacturer can put on top of Android on their device. Think of Android mobile as the cake and the overlay is the frosting.

For instance, Samsung has One UI. It has undergone a few name changes over the years, and now it’s simply One UI. With this overlay, Samsung decided to push a lot of the buttons and controls towards the bottom of the phone. This was to meet the demand of displays getting larger and larger. Which in-turn makes it tougher and tougher to actually use them one-handed. Samsung also has a number of its own features backed into One UI, which you won’t find in Android. That includes things like Air Gestures for the S Pen, a recycle bin in the gallery, to name a few.

Samsung One UI
Samsung One UI

Though, many prefer OnePlus’ Oxygen OS. This is a mostly stock Android overlay, that has a few features added in. OnePlus has decided to just add to Android, instead of trying to make it look hugely different. With Oxygen OS, you do get even more customization features, like theming that is available system-wide. There’s also an “App Locker” which will lock away apps with sensitive data in them, so when you hand your phone to people, they don’t see that data. It’s also a very fast overlay, compared to Google’s Android. This is due to OnePlus removing a lot of the animations that Google has included.Advertisement

There are other skins out there too. Huawei’s Emotion UI or EMUI is also a pretty heavy skin like Samsung’s One UI. LG has its own overlay called LG UX now. It’s also fairly heavy, and not that great. Motorola, ASUS and ZTE have all adopted a more stock-like skin for their smartphones, similar to Oxygen OS, but even lighter.

How do I know if I have the latest version of Android mobile?

To check and see what version of Android mobile you’re running, head into the Settings of your smartphone. Scroll down to “About Phone” and then scroll down to the section that shows the software status. Depending on the phone you’re using, you may have to tap on “Software Info” or something similar to get this information.

As of right now, the latest version of Android is Android 10. It was released on September 3, 2019. Chances are, your device is not running that version of Android though. Seeing as manufacturers are typically pretty slow (compared to iOS) in pushing updates to new versions of Android.Advertisement

Google usually releases a new version of Android each year. With the first beta coming out around February/March. Google will release a new beta almost every month (usually released in the first week of each month) until the final version is released around August/September. It has typically been released around mid-August, but Android 10 was a bit later. Releasing on September 3, 2019.

What are the most popular Android devices?

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

The most popular Android smartphone right now is the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus. It is also one of the more expensive smartphones. Coming in at a price of $1099.

Samsung is well-known for putting cutting-edge tech into its flagship smartphones, and that is the case with the Galaxy Note 10 Plus. It’s one of the most powerful smartphones on the market right now, with a huge and beautiful display to match it.

You can find out more about the Galaxy Note 10 Plus by reading our review.

Samsung Galaxy S10

The Samsung Galaxy S10 was the most popular smartphone until it released the Galaxy Note 10 Plus in August. It’s still pretty popular though, and it’s cheaper than the Galaxy Note 10 Plus.

Samsung Galaxy S10 black official image 2
Samsung Galaxy S10

It doesn’t have as many features as the Galaxy Note 10 Plus, largely because it does not feature the S Pen. But still a very impressive smartphone. You can find the Galaxy S10 for around $899 on Amazon.

You can read more about the Samsung Galaxy S10 in our review.

Google Pixel 3a

Now, the Google Pixel 3a is actually pretty popular for a reason that does not apply to the Galaxy Note 10 Plus or Galaxy S10. It’s price tag. The Pixel 3a is actually a very affordable smartphone, coming in at under $479 (depending on the size you choose). But still offering the same performance and features of a flagship like the Pixel 3.

It has been very popular because you’re getting an amazing camera for about half the price of a flagship smartphone. You can find the Pixel 3a on Amazon for $399 (or $479 for the Pixel 3a XL).

You can read more about the Google Pixel 3a in our review.

AOSP (Android Open Source Project) vs Google’s Android mobile

There are actually two versions of Android mobile. There’s Android Open Source Project or AOSP, and then there’s Google’s Android.

Google’s Android includes GMS or Google Mobile Services. That’s what brings all of Google’s services into Android. Like the Play Store, Gmail, Chrome, etc. Manufacturers can use either version of Android, but Google’s version is the better bet.

The big reason for Google’s Android being better is because manufacturers get earlier access to the code, as well as help from Google in getting Android working on their smartphones and tablets. It also gets all of Google’s services, which are ubiquitous around the world. And if you’re looking to sell a smartphone, you’re going to need Google’s services, or its dead in the water. With the exception of selling it in China.

AOSP exists still, because Google wanted to make an open source mobile platform that anyone can use. And that is still true in 2019. Even though Google’s Android is the better version to use, as it has all the bells and whistles, anyone can use AOSP and not even need to use Google Mobile Services on their devices. Amazon is one of those that does use AOSP without Google’s apps and services.

Is Android the best fit for me?

To be honest, you likely already have a smartphone running Android. About 75-percent of smartphones around the world are running Android right now, meaning that you are very likely to be using one to read this article.

Is is the best fit for you? Well that really depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for the best software Google has to offer, then Android is going to be the best for you. Even though all of Google’s apps are also available on iOS, they don’t integrated into the phone as well as they do on Android.

iOS is really the only other choice when it comes to smartphone operating systems right now, even though there are others trying to take a slice of the market share.

Source:
https://www.androidheadlines.com/what-is-android-mobile

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