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Unread 2017-08-23, 12:32 PM   #10926
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Google’s newest Android operating system gets its official name: Oreo



(Courtesy of Mondelēz )
At the height of the day’s solar eclipse in New York, Google finally revealed the name of its latest Android operating system — in honor of another dark disc: the Oreo. The company turned the beloved cookie into a superhero based on the familiar Android robot logo. Google traditionally names its operating systems after sweet treats; its last system was called Nougat.
Google did not pay the famous cookie's maker, Mondelēz, any money to use the name, said spokeswoman Valerie Moens, who in an email called it a “pure co-branding partnership.” The company said in a news release, however, that it and Google will partner on a “variety of global initiatives designed to create innovative, playful experiences for both OREO and Android fans.” These, Moens said, will include a drone flight that projects a holographic version of the Android and Oreo superhero, some Android and Oreo-branded cookie giveaways, and four short films featuring the new character.
Google unveiled the name at what appeared to be an eclipse viewing party in New York's 14th Street Park, a location selected because of its proximity to the first bakery that made Oreos.
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Unread 2017-08-23, 12:49 PM   #10927
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11 Things You Can Do in Android Oreo That You Couldn't Before





Android Oreo is rolling out now. (Image: Google)
Android Oreo has at last been fully baked, and given a name, and is now rolling out to those of you with a Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, or Pixel C; Google says a bunch of other handsets will get Oreo by the end of the year too. So what can you look forward to? Here are the new tricks you’ll be able to play around with when your update arrives.

1) Use picture-in-picture everywhere


A Chrome video over a Twitter tab. (Image: Screenshot)
The YouTube app for Android has been able to shrink videos down into a little window for some time, but now you can do it in any app, with any other app in the background—as long as app developers decide to support it. It works in Chrome for Android already: Just make any video full-screen, hit the Home button, and hey presto you’ve got a PIP window.

2) Turn on notification badges

Android users no longer need to look quite as enviously at their iPhone-toting friends, because Oreo lets apps display notification badges on their home screen icons too: From Settings tap Apps & notifications then Notifications to find the toggle switch. The badges need to be enabled by developers too, so you might not see them in all apps straight away.

3) Manage notification priorities


Are some of your notifications more important than others? Of course they are. (Image: Screenshot)
Android Oreo lets you manage notifications in more detail using notification “channels”, so you can categorize the ones you want to see and the ones you don’t, even within notifications from the same app—swipe right on a notification then tap the cog icon to see the options, or dive into the settings for a particular app to see what the options are.



























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For example, some of your group chats in a messaging app might have permission to buzz and light up your phone, while others just display a silent alert.
Again this is something developers need to enable on their side as well, so you won’t see it in every app straight away, and it’s the app developers who set the different levels of categories (or channels).
4) Enjoy better security

Google Play Protect is being promoted alongside Android Oreo, though it’s actually rolling out through Google Play Services to older devices too—head to Settings, Google, then Security to see if you’ve got it. The service scans your incoming and installed apps for malware, sending you notifications if it spots anything suspicious or needs to take action.

5) Snooze notifications until later


Come back later. (Image: Screenshot)
Another notification upgrade: you can snooze notifications until you’re ready to deal with them, rather than dismiss them once and never see them again. Swipe to the right on an alert on the lock screen or in the notification drawer, tap the clock icon, and edit the time delay (if needed). This works on all apps straight out of the box with Android Oreo.

6) Save even more battery life

Android has been getting better and better at limiting the background activity of apps when you want to save battery life, and with the launch of Oreo it goes even further, with new rules on what apps can and can’t do in the background. A lot of this should happen behind the scenes, so all you will see (in theory) is your battery lasting for a longer stretch.

7) Play around with new emoji


Many Android emojis have a new look. (Image: Screenshot)
A new version of Android usually means a bunch of new emojis, and Oreo is no different—in fact, Google has redesigned the entire emoji icon set this time around, so the blobs are out and more regular faces are in. New emojis include a wizard, a dinosaur, a fairy, and an exploding head for when you hear how long your Oreo update is delayed for.

Select text more easily

Android Oreo can select text on screen with a bit more intelligence—if you tap and hold on a recognizable bit of text (like a phone number), then Android can automatically highlight the whole lot for you. You also get context-sensitive shortcuts appearing in the bar above, so if you’ve picked out an address, for example, one of the links leads to Google Maps.

9) Use new shortcuts in the camera


Just double-tap to zoom. (Image: Screenshot)
The camera app bundled with Oreo has a couple of minor tweaks that might make a major difference to your photo and video taking in the future. First, you can double-tap on the screen to zoom in 50 percent (and double-tap again to zoom out); second, you can switch between photo and video modes by tapping on the icons rather than awkwardly swiping, finally.

10) Sync all your data across all your devices

Chrome has synced data across devices for a while now, but Android Oreo is expanding that with a new Autofill feature. With your permission, it allows the syncing of app logins, credit card details, addresses and other information between devices and inside apps (like your mobile browser)—LastPass is one of the first apps to support the new feature.

11) Play around with an octopus


Eight arms for Android 8.0. (Image: Screenshot)
No Android version would be complete without an Easter egg, though admittedly the one in Android Oreo isn’t the most impressive we’ve ever seen. From Settings, tap System then About phone, then tap Android version until you see the big Android O. Then, tap the O repeatedly before long-pressing it to get an octopus that... just kind of floats around a bit.
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Unread 2017-08-23, 09:11 PM   #10928
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Mobile
Image Source: Samsung



T-Mobile customers: Don’t buy a Galaxy Note 8







Samsung has officially taken the wraps off its worst-kept secret, the Galaxy Note 8. It’s a fantastic phone in its own right, and should be a much-needed return to business as usual for Samsung. But for anyone committed to staying on T-Mobile for the forseeable future, buying Samsung’s newest phablet would be a massive mistake.
You see, T-Mobile said last week that two devices compatible with its new 600MHz network would be launched by the end of the year — one from Samsung and one from LG. With our best guessing hats on, we predicted that would be the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30. But sadly, we were wrong.



A T-Mobile spokesperson has confirmed that the Galaxy Note 8 will not be compatible with LTE Band 71, the new 600MHz frequency that T-Mobile turned on last week. Compatibility with 600MHz is a big deal, assuming you like actually using your phone when you’re out and about. Lower frequencies travel further and penetrate buildings better, which all adds up to superior coverage, especially inside buildings or in rural areas.
Verizon has relied heavily on its 700MHz spectrum for years, and it’s a big part of the reason it keeps winning coverage awards. T-Mobile’s 600MHz network promises to be just as good or better, but you can only take advantage of it if your phone is compatible. 600MHz compatibility is only going to get more important as time goes on. T-Mobile is planning on having 600MHz coverage over 1,000,000 square miles by the end of this year, and by the end of 2018, it will play a big part in its national coverage.
But none of that helps at all if your phone doesn’t support band 71 — and the Galaxy Note 8 doesn’t. If you buy a Note 8 right now, you’re tying yourself into a year or two of sub-standard service, which just doesn’t make sense. It’s particularly bad considering the LG V30, another top-tier Android flagship, will hopefully have Band 71 compatibility. We’re also hoping that the coming iPhone 8 will work on band 71 as well.
If you’re insistent on getting a Note 8 on T-Mobile right now, there is one clever move you can make. T-Mobile is offering the Note 8 on its Jump On Demand lease program for $0 down, $39 a month. With Jump on Demand, you can get a Note 8 and hang onto it for six months, until a good Band 71 compatible phone comes out. It’ll cost you the same as buying a brand-new Note 8 right now and reselling it in six months, but with far less hassle.
Preorders open at midnight Eastern Time tonight here, and anyone who preorders or purchases before September 24th will get a free Samsung Gear 360 Camera as well.
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Unread 2017-08-23, 09:12 PM   #10929
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Mobile




Android Oreo is wreaking havoc with people’s Bluetooth







The final beta of Android Oreo is out for Pixel and Nexus owners, which means that there’s more people than ever running experimental software on their day-to-day devices.
So it really shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that Google’s forums are blowing up with complaints about Oreo wrecking Bluetooth connectivity. But it sure doesn’t bode well for Google rolling out Oreo to everyone any time soon.


The problem most commonly being complained about is connectivity with Android Auto, but users are also reporting problems with audio playback over headphones and speakers, and general Bluetooth connectivity problems. Google seems to have acknowledged the problem in some form, and is currently requesting beta testers to submit more info on any problems they’re having.
Specifically, Google is after:
Car/Auto
  • Year/make/model of your car
  • Issue/symptoms
Headphones
  • Brand of headphones
  • Issue/symptoms
Bluetooth Speakers
  • Speaker brand
  • Issue/symptoms
Hopefully, it’s an easily diagnosed problem, and it won’t take Google long to fix. There’s no way it’ll push Android Oreo to devices with this as a known issue, so if it takes weeks to solve, it could end up negatively impacting the timeline for getting Oreo to devices.
Google has said that the update will be coming to Pixel and Nexus devices “soon,” while other devices will take longer. Hopefully, most major brands will get the update out to flagship phones before the end of the year, sans any Bluetooth problems.
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Unread 2017-08-27, 07:54 PM   #10930
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Apps & Software
Image Source: Eric Risberg/AP/REX/Shutterstock



Oreo has a game-changing Android feature, but you won’t even realize it’s there







Android 8.0 Oreo is finally official, but that has little meaning for most Android users out there. Aside from a few millions of Pixel and Nexus devices that can be updated to Oreo right now, all the other Android users are left in the dark, having to rely on the “old” Nougat, at best, for now. The fact that Android 8.0 has an incredibly cool name won’t comfort those users who’d like to update to Oreo as fast as possible, without being forced to buy one of Google’s devices to enjoy this perk.
However, Oreo does come with a hidden feature that might be one of the best Android tricks we saw in years. You won’t even know it’s there, but it might make a world of difference.


How cool would it be for non-Pixel devices to get almost instant Android updates? That’s something Google was never able to achieve no matter how much it tried. Android fragmentation is a major defeat that was almost always sold as an advantage to the user. But it definitely isn’t.
That’s why tucked in Oreo code, is Project Treble. That name is definitely not helpful, as people will soon forget what it means. They should have called it Project Faster Updates, so everyone realizes its potential.
With Project Treble, Google is aiming to help Android device makers and carriers push out Android updates faster than the current schedule.
From Google’s own documentation, Project Treble is described as a sort of software modularization that would help out with fast updates. A few months ago we learned that Google’s current Pixel models will work with Project Treble, which might extend their life past the guaranteed two years of Android updates.
Now that Android Oreo is official, Google Android Product Manager Sagar Kamdar confirmed to 9to5Google in an interview that Google is working with several partners on Project Treble. Every new phone that will launch with Oreo is “treblized,” which means those devices will be easier to upgrade to future Android releases. At least, that’s the theory of Project Treble.
Who’s working with Google on Oreo updates? Sagar mentioned 11 partners in the short video at the end of the post without naming names. However, earlier this week, Google’s Vice President of Engineering David Burke mentioned a few of them in a blog post about Android 8.0. Google is working with Essential, Huawei, HTC, Kyocera, Motorola, HMD Global Home of Nokia Phones, Samsung, Sharp, and Sony on Oreo upgrades and new devices that will run Android Oreo out of the gate.
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Unread 2017-08-28, 10:01 PM   #10931
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Something went wrong. Please make sure you added the video correctly.

Video URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OME8SRmpVPs


One of the biggest reasons why people love Android is choice. You can make your phone look however you want with thousands of different customization options to choose from. Some OEMs, such as Samsung, HTC, and LG, allow you to theme the entire system. This has never been a stock feature of Android, but it looks like that’s about to change.
Substratum is a popular theme engine in the modding community. It offers a centralized location to find and install themes on a wide variety of devices. The catch is you have to be rooted or using certain devices. The folks over at XDA have discovered that Substratum themes work in Oreo without root.
The developers of Substratum discovered that they could use themes in Oreo without root access. This is thanks to the Sony theme engine that Google acquired a few years ago. The catch is you have to connect your phone to a desktop app. But it’s not too difficult to get running. This is pretty cool if you love stock Android and themes.
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Unread 2017-08-28, 10:02 PM   #10932
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The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is finally here and it’s pretty much exactly what we expected. After last year’s debacle with the Note 7, Samsung played it safe with the Note 8. This is basically a bigger version of the Samsung Galaxy S8 with an S Pen. But that’s not a bad thing at all as you’ll see from this very impressive spec sheet.
  • Screen: 6.3-inch screen
    • 1440 x 2960 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
  • Physical Size: 162.5mm x 74.6mm and 8.6mm
  • Weight: 195g
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 in US, Exynos 8895 for International
  • Storage: 64GB internal storage with microSD slot
  • Memory: 6GB of RAM
  • Camera: Dual 12MP sensors with OIS, one wide angle one telephoto
  • Battery: 3,300mAh rechargeable by USB-C connection
  • Colors: Midnight Black, Maple Gold, Orchid Grey, Deep Blue Sea
  • Extras: S Pen, Iris Scanner
Check out our full spec sheet for all the gritty details. What do you think of the Note 8 specs? Did Samsung improve enough to make you get this phone? Or would you rather stick with the Galaxy S8? Join the Note 8 forums to join the conversation!
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Unread 2017-09-02, 11:11 PM   #10933
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T-Mobile is offering a buy one, get one free sale on the Note 8 — with a few caveats





You didn’t think it would be that easy, did you?


Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge There’s no way around the fact that at around $930, Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 8 is an expensive phone. But if you’re a T-Mobile customer looking to pick up Samsung’s latest flagship, you might be able to get a second phone free — if you meet T-Mobile’s very specific set of requirements to qualify for the deal.
Here’s what you need to do to qualify: the promo requires you preorder two Galaxy Note 8s from T-Mobile through its equipment installment plan, which requires a $210 deposit for each device, for a total $420 down payment upfront. Then, you must sign up for a new line of service to activate on the second device. This will qualify you to receive a rebate for the cost of the second device, meaning you will still have to pay for the entire thing but will get a check refunding the cost at a later date. It costs $30 a month for each Note 8, which you’ll owe T-Mobile for 24 months.
And lest you think that you can just activate a new line, grab your free phone, and run, T-Mobile is being very clear upfront that early cancellation will result in you getting billed the full price of the second phone.
Still, if you’re planning on getting a Note 8 and have someone else who’d like to join up on your T-Mobile plan, it’s hard to call a discounted $930 smartphone a bad deal.
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Unread 2017-09-05, 10:09 PM   #10934
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It’s no surprise that 2017 was the year of no bezels, but it seems more and more companies are jumping on the hype train which started back in 2016 with the Xiaomi Mi MIX. We’ve already seen a change in design from the likes of Samsung and LG, while also seeing Essential join in on the fun with its unique design, plus Apple is slated to join the party with its upcoming flagship iPhone (which may be the iPhone Edition or iPhone 8).


However, it seems that Samsung may be looking to change up its design yet again after a patent approval was found, showing off even smaller bezels than what is found on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8. As you can see from the image above, the front panel would practically feature no bezels, save for the very top of the device which would likely house the ambient sensor, ear piece, and front-facing camera.
This design obviously isn’t anything new at this point, as the Essential Phone features almost the same design. The difference between the Essential Phone and the above image come with the cutout, as the PH-1 features a small cutout for the selfie camera, while the speaker grille is placed at the very top of the device.
It’s important to note that just because Samsung was awarded this patent, there’s no guarantee that we’ll see this design actually hit the market. Many companies are known for filing patents, only to keep them in their back pocket while never actually integrating the patents into the design chain.
The last piece of information that you should know about this patent is that it was filed more than a year ago, so while there’s a possibility that we could see this design in an upcoming Galaxy or Note device, it’s unlikely that it will be in 2018. But, there’s hope that we could see it in the future, so I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that Samsung moves away from the “curved” edges and back to something more traditional.
Let us know what you think about this design, and if it’s something you would like to see make its way to a future Samsung device.
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Unread 2017-09-05, 10:15 PM   #10935
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Or Maybe the Pixel 2 Won’t Run a Snapdragon 836?




After two separate reports claimed that the new Google Pixel 2 phones would run yet-to-be-released Qualcomm Snapdragon 836 processors, two new reports claim that no such processor exists, nor will it ever exist. The new reports reference “extremely reliable” sources “familiar” with Qualcomm’s plans, both with the assumption that each phone will run a Snapdragon 835.
Should you care? No. The Snapdragon 835 is more than capable, is the processor powering the Galaxy S8, S8+, Note 8, LG V30, and OnePlus 5. It’s the Qualcomm flagship mobile chipset for 2017 and will be fine inside the Pixel 2 phones, especially with Google taking the time to optimize performance. We’re just spoiled after last year, when Google and Qualcomm released the Snapdragon 821 inside the Pixel phones, a slight upgrade over the 820 that was in almost all other phones from 2016. As tech enthusiasts, we like shiny new things with bigger numbers that no other phones have.
In the end, a Snapdragon 836 likely would have offered little improvement over the 835. For example, the Snapdragon 821 offered 10% boosts in boot times, app load times, and general performance over the 820. Those weren’t insignificant improvements, they just weren’t game-changing, phone-changing, experience-changing upgrades. A jump to 836 probably would have boosted similarly.
With that said, we don’t yet know anything about Qualcomm’s plans for 2018. If history is any indicator, they could announce something like a Snapdragon 845 toward the end of this year with release happening in early 2018. I point that out because if the Pixel 2 phones arrive around the end of October and Qualcomm announces a new chipset shortly thereafter, prepare for an internet complaint session about Google shipping old silicon. I’ll just say that I’m fine with that timing as long as they aren’t using the previous year’s chipset only months before the new one arrives, right, LG?
Again, you’ll be fine with the Snapdragon 835.
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Unread 2017-09-06, 01:38 PM   #10936
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I just got Oreo on my 5x... the emoji update is on point. Good work, Google.

On another note, I am switching back to Sprint from ATT, and ditching my attempt at iOS to come back to Android.

My conundrum, is which phone?

Some background: I preferred the Nexus phones. BIG fan of stock android. That said...

The cheapest possible option is the Samsung S8 ($15/mo) followed by LG G6 ($20/mo). I can get both of those now, which is tempting. I am leaning a bit toward the LG, even though Samsung has newer hardware. I have just never been a fan of Samsung's UI, though I haven't seen the s8 in action, specifically. I also like the finger sensor on the LG better. The Samsung's looks awkward.

The other options are waiting until the Pixel 2 or v30 come out. But... Pixel 2 has no 3.5mm jack, so sadly, it's all but written off in my mind. The v30 is a big phone and I'm concerned about comfort in my pocket. It will also be significantly more expensive than the S8 or G6, I'm sure.

Does anyone have any input that would help me make my decision? First hand experience with these phones?
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Unread 2017-09-06, 02:28 PM   #10937
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keboh View Post
I just got Oreo on my 5x... the emoji update is on point. Good work, Google.

On another note, I am switching back to Sprint from ATT, and ditching my attempt at iOS to come back to Android.

My conundrum, is which phone?

Some background: I preferred the Nexus phones. BIG fan of stock android. That said...

The cheapest possible option is the Samsung S8 ($15/mo) followed by LG G6 ($20/mo). I can get both of those now, which is tempting. I am leaning a bit toward the LG, even though Samsung has newer hardware. I have just never been a fan of Samsung's UI, though I haven't seen the s8 in action, specifically. I also like the finger sensor on the LG better. The Samsung's looks awkward.

The other options are waiting until the Pixel 2 or v30 come out. But... Pixel 2 has no 3.5mm jack, so sadly, it's all but written off in my mind. The v30 is a big phone and I'm concerned about comfort in my pocket. It will also be significantly more expensive than the S8 or G6, I'm sure.

Does anyone have any input that would help me make my decision? First hand experience with these phones?
You're the only one I've read say that, most people on /r/android are still pissed about leaving the blobs.
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Unread 2017-09-06, 02:48 PM   #10938
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squeaky192 View Post
You're the only one I've read say that, most people on /r/android are still pissed about leaving the blobs.
I can make black Santa with the new emoji set. That alone makes it infinitely better than the blob set.

It's close to iOS.. one of the only things I miss about my apple phone was the emoji set
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Unread 2017-09-06, 04:12 PM   #10939
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keboh View Post
I just got Oreo on my 5x... the emoji update is on point. Good work, Google.

On another note, I am switching back to Sprint from ATT, and ditching my attempt at iOS to come back to Android.

My conundrum, is which phone?

Some background: I preferred the Nexus phones. BIG fan of stock android. That said...

The cheapest possible option is the Samsung S8 ($15/mo) followed by LG G6 ($20/mo). I can get both of those now, which is tempting. I am leaning a bit toward the LG, even though Samsung has newer hardware. I have just never been a fan of Samsung's UI, though I haven't seen the s8 in action, specifically. I also like the finger sensor on the LG better. The Samsung's looks awkward.

The other options are waiting until the Pixel 2 or v30 come out. But... Pixel 2 has no 3.5mm jack, so sadly, it's all but written off in my mind. The v30 is a big phone and I'm concerned about comfort in my pocket. It will also be significantly more expensive than the S8 or G6, I'm sure.

Does anyone have any input that would help me make my decision? First hand experience with these phones?
I think Sprint has a deal where you can get half off an Essential PH-1. Doesn't have an aux port though.

I'd get the S8. TouchWiz has changed drastically if you haven't used it recently.
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Unread 2017-09-06, 05:06 PM   #10940
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I'd get the Pixel 2 over the essential any day of the week, but the 3.5mm is a really big deal to me and one of the major reasons I disliked my iphone

I'm really leaning to the Samsung, just because of CPU and GPU. It's really hard to even consider a phone with older tech when it's the same price and already about to be replaced with the newest snapdragon offering
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Unread 2017-09-07, 08:07 AM   #10941
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I will say my OG Pixel has been going strong with no hiccups what-so-ever for 10 months now. I don't intend on buying a non-Google device again after how well my experience has gone this time.

The Pixel 2 not having a headphone jack just makes it that much easier to go 2 years without replacing, haha.
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Unread 2017-09-07, 08:44 AM   #10942
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I will say my OG Pixel has been going strong with no hiccups what-so-ever for 10 months now. I don't intend on buying a non-Google device again after how well my experience has gone this time.

The Pixel 2 not having a headphone jack just makes it that much easier to go 2 years without replacing, haha.
I ended up getting the G8 and I already have buyers remorse Native Android is the best... I'm just hoping that Samsung's new UI isn't as intrusive and horrible as it used to be. We will see, I guess!

Here's a big Fuck You to Google for drinking the faggoty Apple koolaid and removing the headphone jack on the Pixel 2. Assholes.
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Unread 2017-09-07, 09:39 AM   #10943
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I ended up getting the G8 and I already have buyers remorse Native Android is the best... I'm just hoping that Samsung's new UI isn't as intrusive and horrible as it used to be. We will see, I guess!

Here's a big Fuck You to Google for drinking the faggoty Apple koolaid and removing the headphone jack on the Pixel 2. Assholes.

I bought the S8 a few months back and honestly I love it. Phone is running strong for me.
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Unread 2017-09-07, 10:00 AM   #10944
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I bought the S8 a few months back and honestly I love it. Phone is running strong for me.
How is the finger print scanner placement? I've read mixed reviews about it being so high on the phone, next to the camera lense. I'm left-handed, so usually anything that's offset from the middle is more of a PITA for me than most people
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Unread 2017-09-07, 11:35 AM   #10945
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How is the finger print scanner placement? I've read mixed reviews about it being so high on the phone, next to the camera lense. I'm left-handed, so usually anything that's offset from the middle is more of a PITA for me than most people
It's the first phone I've owned that has it so it doesn't bother me at all due to me not being used to it.

The Samsung OS is pretty intrusive. I went from an LG G4 to the S8 and the amount of shit Samsung puts on a phone that needs access to this or that so that it can also have access to this or that drove me insane for a couple of weeks.

My gripes about the phone:

- I'm not used to how much it zooms in to start a video. My previous phones zoomed in slightly, but not nearly as much as the S8 does.

- Bixby is stupid. Really, really stupid. I downloaded an app that let me change the Bixby button (it has a fucking button for it) to my regular Google screen.

- With previous phones I've always maxed out the Bluetooth volume on the phone and then just adjusted it with whatever device I'm connected to. Samsung thinks that will hurt my ears so it resets it to a lower level randomly so I have to turn it back up. It then offers on some devices to let me set a volume level for it, but it fucking resets randomly. It's not the end of the world, but I use Bluetooth streaming for literally everything so it's rather annoying.

- Speaking of Bluetooth, Bluetooth range isn't all that incredible. My G4 had better range. It's not bad inside, but outside it's pretty noticeably worse.

- More Bluetooth! I have a Gear S3. I had it with my G4 as well. It worked flawlessly on the G4. Always connected, connected when I went out of range of it and then back in range, etc. With the S8 it's far more finicky with the Bluetooth connection. It won't connect for a day sometimes no matter what I do. I replaced the watch thinking it was the issue but the new one does the same thing.

- Samsung apps are not through the Google store. They are through a Samsung store. They update through it as well. Well, some do. Others you have to update through the app so you'll think your apps are up to date because some update through the Samsung store but others are out of date because you have to update them differently. It makes no sense.

What I like about the phone:

- The battery life is incredible. On a recent trip with friends it outlasted all of the iPhones on the trip and then some. That's never happened with us before.

- The camera is great. Focus isn't as fast as my G4 was (or as precise), but low light performance is worlds better. I edit with Snapseed and the end results look fantastic. The stock Samsung phone editing app is pretty good too.

- Expandable storage FTW.

- The earbuds it comes with out of the box sound pretty damn good. I stuck with my Jaybird X3s, but I was impressed by them.

- It's a really fast phone. Performance is awesome.

- Screen response is as close to an iPhone as I've seen from an Android phone so far. That's about the only thing I like about an iPhone so I'm happy that an Android phone finally caught up.

- I love the side swipe option on the home screen that you can do to get access to another app bar and a contacts list.

Overall I'm happy I bought it, but I'd have an orgasm if a fully unlocked one was offered with stock Android. It'd be the perfect phone. I like LG's OS worlds more than Samsungs because it's not nearly as intrusive and annoying. I didn't want to deal with LG quality issues again which is why I didn't go for the LG G6.
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Unread 2017-09-08, 10:49 AM   #10946
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Essential Phone: 24 Hours Later, Some Initial Thoughts









After spending a few minutes with an Essential Phone last week during my trip to NYC for Samsung’s Note 8 launch, I now have a retail unit in house that we’ll begin to put through our tests as we form a proper review, one that isn’t








rushed into a 48-hour embargo period. But before we get there, since talking about shiny new phones is fun, I wanted
to share some initial thoughts because as a new phone created by the founder of Android, the Essential Phone is certainly worth having multiple conversations about.


Packaging and that price

When your Essential Phone arrives, you get an all-black box with little branding. You, of course, know what the contents are, but like the phone itself, Essential has gone full-minimal, something I appreciate. As you dive into the box, it only gets better. First, you’ve got the phone, but next to it are the well-placed, premium charger, nylon-wrapped USB Type-C cable, and similarly finished USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter. No one gives you accessories this nice.
I’m not sure that fancy accessories are a key selling point, but when you pay $700 for a phone from someone who has never released a phone before, sometimes the little things help ease any concerns you might have. If anything, this type of quality at least shows you that the company you just helped support cares deeply about their product.
Phone in hand

Now out of the box, the Essential Phone makes its presence known right away. This thing is heavy. Sort of in a good way, though let me get back to you on that in a couple of weeks. The titanium and ceramic body are probably to blame there (or thank?) and give off a feeling that few phones have in recent memory. Most phones these days are purposely light, while this phone is unapologetically trying to remind you it exists and is made like none of its competitors.
When you fire it up for the first time, you’ll probably get a software update, since Essential is doing its best to improve their first phone as quickly as they possibly can. After pretty harsh reviews around the phone’s camera, I’d imagine these updates won’t stop any time soon. No, I’m not complaining about updates, especially those that appear before you ever login to your new phone. I like it when companies try to improve their products.
Of course, after that update, the display hits you and you’ll probably fall immediately in love. We’ll see how long these display emotions last, but the Essential Phone, even after spending countless hours with Samsung and LG’s Infinity and FullVision displays, just looks different – in a good way. I said this on yesterday’s DL Show, but I really think you could put any wallpaper on this phone and it would look amazing. It’s just a different kind of all-display experience, one that feels even more immersive. I have yet to fully pin down why that is, but it could have to do with that front camera position and the fact that some apps and the notification area wrap around it.
I should also point out that while the Galaxy S8 and V30 have all-display fronts and relatively smallish bodies, the Essential Phone does an even better job at giving you a big display and manageable frame. I’d even suggest that this phone comes off a little small, yet it sports a 5.7-inch QHD display. I wonder if that’s because of its squared body and thickness, but as you can see in the image above, this is not a phone you’ll have any issues using in a single hand.
Software at its emptiest

Andy Rubin wasn’t messing around when he talked initially about there being no bloatware or unnecessary fluff on the Essential Phone. Out of the box, as I just mentioned, there are so few apps that you might think something is wrong. Thankfully, that means you get to setup a phone the way you want without having to spend another five minutes disabling or uninstalling the garbage.
That also means that there aren’t additional settings anywhere that you won’t be familiar with should you have come from a Nexus or Pixel phone. You will, however, wonder what’s missing if coming from a Samsung or LG device. You see, in the settings, nothing is different from a Google phone, outside of the one “Essential” option that is nothing more than a usage and diagnostics opt-in. This is a bare bones approach to Android experiences.
This is also very much a dream come true for some of us. While I’ve always been a fan of Nexus and Pixel phones, we’ve begged for other manufacturers to take Google’s approach and just give us Android the way Google made it. So far no one has done that except for Essential. With software this lean, it’s up to you to make it yours, not a manufacturer forcing you into bits and pieces of custom tweaks they decided you’ll enjoy.
The Camera

You’ve probably heard, assuming you read any of the early reviews, that the Essential Phone’s camera is awful. I’m not sure that after a day with it, that I have great things to say about it either. My worry is that the camera app is to blame and that there is hope on some level. You see, the camera app is as bare bones as the software, only it seems ridiculously buggy and broken. For example, I tried to add to my burger picture collection yesterday and had to restart the camera app 3 separate times because it just stopped taking pictures. I was tapping and tapping and tapping the shutter button, and it just didn’t want to do anything.
The camera is also painfully slow at times. I was taking macros of some plants around my house yesterday with the sun peaking through a tree in the background and thought I had taken 5 or 6 photos. As it turns out, I took 3, 1 of which was of the blurry ground. In its current form, the camera app on this phone is unacceptable and that’s apparently after multiple updates.

Of the shots I have taken, some are OK, some not so much. The lack of stabilization and the instability of the camera app don’t exactly bring confidence to your hand when snapping photos. And look, when the best camera is the one you have on you, you need confidence in it. After a single day with this phone’s camera, I can’t say that I have any just yet.
On a related note, we received a recommendation to try the Google Camera app with HDR+ that was released a couple of weeks back to see if it helps. I haven’t taken enough photos to give you much feedback there, but I can at least tell you that the experience is much more stable than Essential’s own camera app. The Google Camera opens in a hurry and is capable of firing off multiple shots without hesitating. We’ll definitely do more testing there.
Other notes: Both good and bad

  • Display touch issue: I feel like there is a touch sensitivity issue here with the display. I’ve now talked to at least two other people with retail units who pointed out that the display doesn’t regularly recognize your first touch. You have to tap things twice more often than I’d like. I don’t know if that can be fixed with software or not, but it’s already annoying me.
  • Performance: Performance is just OK. At times, the phone is buttery smooth and flies around, but every so often it hiccups or loads an app or the home screen slowly. Again, those are things that could get better, I’m just wondering how many more times I’m going to type, “Software could fix that” before this phone seems worth the money and hassle.
  • Night mode: There is no night mode or blue light filter for the display and that’s unfortunate.
  • Verizon: While not yet certified for Verizon, I popped in an activated Verizon SIM and the phone had no problems connecting to Verizon’s network. So even though it isn’t officially ready, as long as you have an active SIM, it’ll work just fine on Big Red’s network. However, if you don’t have an active Verizon SIM, I doubt that Verizon will be able to get you setup if you walk into a store with only your new Essential Phone.
  • Charging: I have yet to time it, but the Essential Phone charges really, really fast with the included charger.
  • Battery life: On the first full charge, I pushed about 3 hours of screen on time and still had 23% before I was looking for a charger. I’d imagine the phone’s battery life will improve as I use it a bit and it settles in.
  • Wife test: My wife was actually a fan and she hasn’t been of most phones I’ve handed her this year. She’s still rocking a blue Pixel, but I’m now wondering if this could be her next. That’s a good sign, Essential.
  • Son test: As a random note, I was out with my son yesterday and he was playing a game on the phone. Thanks to the PINs on the back and the magnets, the phone sort of attached itself to the metal table we were sitting at and allowed for the phone to be secured from him knocking it off as he tried to rage quit Subway Surfers. Bonus feature!
So yeah…

So far, my thoughts are pretty mixed about this phone. On one hand, it’s exactly the type of phone I wanted to see someone else make. I have no issues paying a premium for an ultra-premium device that runs the software I want and nothing else. There is a lot I already like about the Essential Phone. On the other hand, the camera is a bit worrisome, as is the touch issue in the display. Since the Essential camera app is garbage, I may actually switch full-time to the Google Camera app to give this camera a real test. I don’t know if Essential can fix the camera, but if they plan to sell many phones, they better figure out a way.
Otherwise, stay tuned for our full review.
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Unread 2017-09-08, 11:00 AM   #10947
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It's the first phone I've owned that has it so it doesn't bother me at all due to me not being used to it.

The Samsung OS is pretty intrusive. I went from an LG G4 to the S8 and the amount of shit Samsung puts on a phone that needs access to this or that so that it can also have access to this or that drove me insane for a couple of weeks.

My gripes about the phone:

- I'm not used to how much it zooms in to start a video. My previous phones zoomed in slightly, but not nearly as much as the S8 does.

- Bixby is stupid. Really, really stupid. I downloaded an app that let me change the Bixby button (it has a fucking button for it) to my regular Google screen.

- With previous phones I've always maxed out the Bluetooth volume on the phone and then just adjusted it with whatever device I'm connected to. Samsung thinks that will hurt my ears so it resets it to a lower level randomly so I have to turn it back up. It then offers on some devices to let me set a volume level for it, but it fucking resets randomly. It's not the end of the world, but I use Bluetooth streaming for literally everything so it's rather annoying.

- Speaking of Bluetooth, Bluetooth range isn't all that incredible. My G4 had better range. It's not bad inside, but outside it's pretty noticeably worse.

- More Bluetooth! I have a Gear S3. I had it with my G4 as well. It worked flawlessly on the G4. Always connected, connected when I went out of range of it and then back in range, etc. With the S8 it's far more finicky with the Bluetooth connection. It won't connect for a day sometimes no matter what I do. I replaced the watch thinking it was the issue but the new one does the same thing.

- Samsung apps are not through the Google store. They are through a Samsung store. They update through it as well. Well, some do. Others you have to update through the app so you'll think your apps are up to date because some update through the Samsung store but others are out of date because you have to update them differently. It makes no sense.

What I like about the phone:

- The battery life is incredible. On a recent trip with friends it outlasted all of the iPhones on the trip and then some. That's never happened with us before.

- The camera is great. Focus isn't as fast as my G4 was (or as precise), but low light performance is worlds better. I edit with Snapseed and the end results look fantastic. The stock Samsung phone editing app is pretty good too.

- Expandable storage FTW.

- The earbuds it comes with out of the box sound pretty damn good. I stuck with my Jaybird X3s, but I was impressed by them.

- It's a really fast phone. Performance is awesome.

- Screen response is as close to an iPhone as I've seen from an Android phone so far. That's about the only thing I like about an iPhone so I'm happy that an Android phone finally caught up.

- I love the side swipe option on the home screen that you can do to get access to another app bar and a contacts list.

Overall I'm happy I bought it, but I'd have an orgasm if a fully unlocked one was offered with stock Android. It'd be the perfect phone. I like LG's OS worlds more than Samsungs because it's not nearly as intrusive and annoying. I didn't want to deal with LG quality issues again which is why I didn't go for the LG G6.
Thanks for the in depth response!!

I figure Samsung is going to be intrustive... native Android is what I wanted, but what can you do when FUCKING GOOGLE DRINKS THE APPLE KOOLAID AND GETS RID OF THE GODDAMN 3.5 MM JACK GOD FUCKING DAMNIT... but I digress.

I don't really use anything bluetooth, so luckily all those complaints wont impact me, really. I've heard Bixby is laughably bad and already knew that you could download 3rd party apps to 'fix' the button. I plan on using that for either google screen or camera, but I'm glad it sounds like that is a viable option that doesn't end up causing more problems than it's worth.

I may end up rooting the phone if I can put stock Oreo on it.. I know you can root them now, but AFAIK there isn't a stock rom for the s8 available.
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Unread 2017-09-14, 11:25 AM   #10948
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Google’s Pixel 2 Teaser Hints At A Large Battery And More




Google on Thursday officially confirmed that the Pixel 2 smartphone series will be debuting on October 4, exactly one year after the original lineup was unveiled by the Alphabet-owned company. Almost simultaneously with the launch of its Pixel 2 pre-registration website, the tech giant put out the first video teaser for its upcoming devices, with the video itself hinting at a wide variety of features that will be part of the company’s next smartphone package. The 35-second video titled “Funny you should ask…” uses Google’s flagship product Search to tease the arrival of the Pixel 2 lineup, suggesting how many people are unhappy with their current smartphones for a variety of reasons like battery performance, limited storage space, and lag.



The teaser hence suggests that the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 will address all of those issues, presumably by providing users with sizeable batteries and a plethora of storage, among other things. The latter point indicates that Google will once again be offering unlimited cloud storage to all people who opt to purchase one of its two flagships, at least for storing photos and videos recorded on either device without compressing them in an aggressive manner and consequently compromising their quality. The teaser can be viewed below in its entirety and is presumably the first of many similar clips to come until October 4. The Mountain View, California-based tech giant opted to start teasing its upcoming smartphone duo only two days after Apple unveiled its own offerings, which is significant because both product lineups are presumed to be targeting the same demographic, just like it was the case last year. Still, the Pixel series is unlikely to set any sales records and Google’s previous product endeavors suggest that shortages are to be expected throughout the holiday season.



Apart from the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2, Google’s October event may also bring a new, smaller version of the Google Home speaker, as well as at least one pair of Google Assistant-enabled “Bisto” headphones, according to previous rumors. All consumer electronics Google announces at the event will presumably be available for purchase in limited quantities by early November, if not sooner.
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Unread 2017-09-14, 05:30 PM   #10949
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Thanks for the in depth response!!

I figure Samsung is going to be intrustive... native Android is what I wanted, but what can you do when FUCKING GOOGLE DRINKS THE APPLE KOOLAID AND GETS RID OF THE GODDAMN 3.5 MM JACK GOD FUCKING DAMNIT... but I digress.

I don't really use anything bluetooth, so luckily all those complaints wont impact me, really. I've heard Bixby is laughably bad and already knew that you could download 3rd party apps to 'fix' the button. I plan on using that for either google screen or camera, but I'm glad it sounds like that is a viable option that doesn't end up causing more problems than it's worth.

I may end up rooting the phone if I can put stock Oreo on it.. I know you can root them now, but AFAIK there isn't a stock rom for the s8 available.
Welp, I lasted a week. The S8 turned into torture way too quickly. Everything Samsung implements with their UI is a) totally useless and frustrating or b) already a feature in Android only is way worse than what comes stock with Android.

I liked the edge screen. And the hardware was phenomenal. How anyone is willing to live with TouchWiz is completely beyond me though. My Nexus 5X is slower and kind of glitchy, but I'm happier with this POS than I was with the Galaxy

I guess I just need to forfeit my headphone jack and hop on the Pixel train.id rather deal with that than TouchWiz, that's for sure.
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Unread 2017-09-15, 07:26 AM   #10950
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Always been the case for me. 3rd party hardware is great! 3rd party software is always complete shit. And everyone I know who has a Samsung, for some reason, has it slow way the hell down within like 6 months. Only a complete wipe will get it back. Something in Samsung's software isnt caching right, no garbage collection.

My last 2 naked android phones I dont even restart outside of regular updates, let alone clear caches or wipe. Before occasionally an update or application would mess things up and youd need a restart to kill it, but its been a while since they fixed that.

Keep an eye out for closeout Pixels. I got mine during a "back to school" sale. Maybe they will do another sale before the Pixel 2 comes out. The Pixel is a HUGE upgrade from the 5x.
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