Allo Isn’t the Messaging App for Me

Allo, Google’s new smart messaging app, has been out for all of 13 hours now. During that short time, I think I’ve already come to the conclusion that this app isn’t for me. That’s not to say that this is a bad app, it’s just not in any way, shape, or form, an app that can handle my messaging needs. I actually joked earlier on Twitter that maybe Allo was really Google’s attempt to convince us that Hangouts isn’t all that bad and that we should stop complaining about it. After spending most of the morning whipping up stories and videos about Allo, I think that’s exactly what I’m realizing – that Hangouts is pretty damn good at what I need from a messaging app.  (more…)

Assuming Google Ties the Pixel Phones to Verizon, I’d Assume Higher Prices Too

The sample size is small, but each time that Verizon has carried any of Google’s phones, the price hasn’t been one of the selling points. Should Verizon once again get the opportunity to sell Google’s phones this year – the Pixel and Pixel XL – I hope you aren’t expecting anything less than top tier pricing in the range of an iPhone or Galaxy S.  (more…)

Opinion: High Price of the Galaxy Note 7 Shouldn’t Piss You Off

I can’t tell you how many times I have read in the comments section of this site that the Galaxy Note 7 is priced too high. Is it? Let’s dissect and discuss. The Galaxy Note 7 at full retail averages across the major US carriers at about $850. Some carriers are cheaper, some are more expensive. The point is, while the phone is indeed expensive, this shouldn’t upset anybody. Not only should it not upset you, but you shouldn’t even be surprised.

When it comes to Android devices, the Galaxy Note 7 is packing the heat. Featuring a 5.7″ QHD Super AMOLED display, Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, IP68 water resistance, USB Type-C port, 64GB base storage, iris scanner, fingerprint reader, microSD card support and so much else, this device is launching with features that other smartphone owners only dream of having. In fact, even Galaxy S7 owners don’t have the luxury of an iris scanner, so they have a slight right to feel a little salty.

Allow me to present a few points why $850 for the flagship device of flagship devices is not that ridiculous.  (more…)

FYI: Your Verizon Unlimited Data Plan is No Longer Unlimited

When we broke news last week with word that Verizon was going to start disconnecting a small group of “extraordinary” data users who were out of contract and still hanging on to unlimited data, we were also telling you that your unlimited data plan is no longer truly “unlimited.” In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, Verizon is now paying close attention to how much data you are using if you are out of contract, so that they can take it all away from you with notice.  (more…)

Pokémon GO is a Total Disaster [Opinion]

Last year in September, it was announced that Pokémon GO was an actual thing. Made by Niantic Labs, the minds behind the hit-game Ingress, Pokémon GO would deliver that same type of Ingress adventure players grew to love, but with familiar Pokémon characters that we knew as children. You see, Pokémon GO is essentially every Pokémon fan’s fantasy – you go out into the real world, capture Pokémon, evolve them, and then battle them at your local Gym. For anyone who grew up playing or trading Pokémon cards, Pokémon GO is basically a dream come true. The only problem is, now that the game has launched for Android and iOS, we can safely say that this game totally sucks ass. (more…)

Tale of Two Launches: OnePlus 3 the Good, Moto Z the Terrible

Last Thursday, I started a 6-day vacation to Victoria, BC that was booked months in advance, partly because the trip involved being on hand to cheer on a family member during her Iron Man, but also because no one launches phones in June and it was thought to be a safe bet to be away. Silly Kellen. Moto(rola) and Lenovo announced the Moto Z and Moto Z Force on Thursday, while OnePlus took some time yesterday to unwrap the OnePlus 3. Yes, my trip managed to not only overlap two major phone announcements, but WWDC was packed in there too, for good measure.

Since I was away for most of the fun and Tim took on all tasks, I was able to watch from a distance and form some opinions on how these two phone launches went. I’ll just say this – there are two blueprints here for launching a phone and only one of them is even close to being right, while the other is about as bad as it gets.  (more…)

The Smartphone Industry Needs to Take New Chances, Like Motorola and LG are Doing With Modules

With Motorola on the verge of announcing its newest phone fit with modular capabilities and LG having just come off a an opening month or two where it introduced its take on a modular phone, I think it’s clear that smartphone makers have realized that in order to survive going forward, they need to do something new. It’s time to innovate again. It’s time to take chances, offer more value in new ways, make phones more than just phones, and move beyond the simple, slab smartphone that just gets the basics right. The smartphone world needs something new, something fresh. The last thing it needs are a bunch of devices that the average consumer can’t tell apart but seem to fit a tech media narrative of what they view as success or good.

Many of your favorite smartphone makers, outside of Samsung, are struggling and have been for years. Since the early gold rush to Android supremacy four and five years ago, the industry has matured, maybe even plateaued, and made it extremely difficult for anyone to succeed. Companies like Samsung and Apple are still doing quite well as they established dominance long ago and haven’t given it up, partially because they have massive marketing budgets, but also because they keep making great products that mean something to owners of them. For companies like Motorola and LG, they can’t compete with that reputation or marketing budget by just doing the same old thing. And that right there is why I’m glad that they are both taking chances by going this modular route. (more…)

Chromebooks Just Killed the Tablet

If you are at all considering an Android tablet purchase at the moment, feel free to stop. I say that because in a couple of weeks, Android apps and the Google Play store will arrive on select Chromebooks. By the end of the year, those same apps will arrive on dozens and dozens of additional Chromebooks at varying prices and in a variety of forms, some of which can emulate a tablet experience. This major move of Android apps onto Chromebooks from Google has all but eliminated the need for Android tablets to even exist.

Let me explain.  (more…)