Google, We Have Some Pixel 4 Soli Feature Suggestions

Google, We Have Some Pixel 4 Soli Feature Suggestions


Now that we know for certain that the Pixel 4 will come equipped with a Soli radar chip for recognizing hand movements, we’re curious how Google intends to improve it over time. In the company’s own words, the Motion Sense feature will “evolve” as it ages, so let’s allow this post to push Google in the right direction in terms of what we, the consumers, would like to see, yes?

As of right now, we know Motion Sense will be capable of skipping songs, snoozing alarms, and silence phone calls. For us, that’s not nearly enough functionality to warrant that much real estate on the device’s front side.

We would also like to see the ability to swipe through photos in gallery applications (Photos, Gallery, etc.), scrolling in Chrome or other applicable applications, switch camera modes or apply different filters in the Camera app, control a device’s volume output, a … Read the rest

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Few Options Remain in an Android World That Used to be Littered With Choice

Few Options Remain in an Android World That Used to be Littered With Choice


Be Together. Not the Same.

There was a commercial Google put out a few years ago that really touched me. The main reason I enjoyed it was because it showcased funny animal pairings you wouldn’t usually see, such as a dog playing with an elephant and a sheep running alongside a rhino. Adorable, right? What Google was saying is, “Hey, we may all use different devices, but we still run the same Android OS.”

It’s great marketing, but as the years have gone on, the Android landscape has changed dramatically in the US and that same Be together. Not the same. message doesn’t quite resonate the same way it used to.


Since 2015, when that commercial hit the airwaves, we’ve essentially lost a few players in the Android game when it comes to the US market. Companies such as HTC and Sony have scaled back their smartphone plays. Motorola … Read the rest

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I Wish Google Would Figure Out What They’re Doing With Music

I Wish Google Would Figure Out What They’re Doing With Music


Google re-introduced YouTube Music in May of last year before making it widely available to everyone in June. At the time, we were told to expect it to live alongside Google Play Music, but that Google really only wanted a single music app at some point down the road, rather than two. The future was going to be YouTube Music, that much was clear.

Here we are, though, more than a year later and not much has really changed. Google Play Music is still alive (it just may not see regular updates), it’s dated, buggy as hell, and will continue to carry uncertainty with it until Google gives us a date for its demise. But again, it’s still there, works (most of the time), has a premium subscription tier, and contains all of our music collections.

YouTube Music, on the other hand, gets more regular updates, but it’s still not … Read the rest

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I Feel Trapped by Google Hangouts

I Feel Trapped by Google Hangouts


The writing has been on the wall for Hangouts for longer than I can remember and yet here I am, writing a piece about it. I’m not necessarily writing about its death, though, because we know it’ll live on in some form or another through Hangouts Chat or as the poorly supported and dated version we have now. Instead, as the title suggests, I just want to talk about how I feel trapped by it even as there are more than a couple messaging services that should probably replace it on my phone.

I’d say that 90% of my digital communication with friends and family happens through Google Hangouts. I’ve been so heavily invested in Hangouts that some of the group conversations have years’ worth of history. When it was introduced in 2013 (!), I talked everyone into making the switch to it and they did. It was an easy … Read the rest

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Okay, I Was Wrong About IR Blasters

Okay, I Was Wrong About IR Blasters


I’m completely capable of admitting when I am wrong about something. I honestly thought the San Francisco Giants could be contenders this year. I also thought the Trail Blazers had a chance against the Warriors without KD in the WCF. We’ve all been wrong before, it happens.

My latest admission of idiocy concerns IR blasters and their place in smartphones.

Back in the day, I always wondered who was using the IR blasters that would come on select smartphones. I’d think to myself, “Don’t you have a dedicated remote you can use?” Well, now that my own TV remote has gone and shit the bed, I realize just how wrong I was and now I’m dying for every phone to have a built-in IR blaster.

So the story goes, I have a Vizio TV that’s sorta getting up in there age. It’s about 5 years old or so. The remote … Read the rest

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Poll: Pixel 4, Hot or Nah?

Pixel 4, Please Have a Flat Display


Last week on the Droid Life Show, I admitted that I’m officially over curved displays. This came as a surprise to Kellen, who has felt this way for quite some time. Regardless, this is my new opinion and now that I’m #TeamFlatScreen, I’m praying the Pixel 4 from Google has a flat display later this year.

Before I get too much into why I no longer enjoy using curved displays, let’s talk about the Pixel 4. Right now, there isn’t any info out there indicating that Google will use a curved display on this phone. From what we can gather, the display on the Pixel 4 will be like all other Pixel displays — pretty darn flat. Unfortunately, all Google has given us in its own hype images is a look at the rear of the device. So far, it looks promising.


Kellen Was Right All Along

It hurts … Read the rest

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I’m so Excited About Wider Unlocked Google Pixel Availability

I’m so Excited About Wider Unlocked Google Pixel Availability


When Google announced the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL during Google I/O, they also announced wider availability of the Pixel 3 line. There were new carrier partners to highlight, and those are certainly a big deal, but I’m more excited about the fact that the unlocked models are now available for purchase at a number of new retailers.

We’ve always been big fans of unlocked phones, especially when they work on all carriers like Google’s do. Buying an unlocked Pixel 3, 3 XL, 3a, or 3a XL and then deciding which of the major US carriers you want to take it to rather than being forced by a exclusive partnership is the dream. It’s what we’ve been complaining to Google about for 3 years.

These unlocked units get updates just as quick as you expect Pixel phones to. Unlike Samsung’s unlocked phones that are the last of any Read the rest

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Is the Headphone Jack Back?

Is the Headphone Jack Back?


It took “courage” from Apple to start us down the headphone jack-less path in 2016. Motorola wasn’t far behind them. Google followed their leads in 2017’s Pixel 2 by suggesting USB-C and digital audio were better audio. OnePlus joined the party in 2018 after ribbing competitors for years for ditching 3.5mm ports. All signs from the past three years suggested that the 3.5mm port was only a couple of random sightings away from becoming extinct. Something seems to have changed, though.

Is the headphone jack back?

For 2019, we’ve seen a lot of headphone jacks. Samsung’s entire Galaxy S10 line-up has them. The LG G8 has one, with a Quad DAC to boot. Huawei’s P30 has one (the P30 Pro does not). The mid-range Pixel 3a and 3a XL have them. And now the Moto Z4 has one, even as Motorola was one of the original 3.5mm killers. … Read the rest

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What a Great Time to be a Smartphone Buyer

What a Great Time to be a Smartphone Buyer


No matter what kind of budget you have, we are living through a wonderful time to be a smartphone buyer. And that’s mostly because no matter the price point, you have an option that will make for an excellent smartphone. You’ll have a phone that can take great pictures or outperforms them all, you could buy a phone with the biggest and best display or go with something that works well, fits in your hand nicely, and won’t break the bank.

We get asked all of the time which phones we think people should buy. In the past, there were typically only a couple of phones we’d recommend. The problem with those recommendations, is the fact that they weren’t always budget-friendly, but they offered the best overall experiences. Today, there are more than a couple of phones we’d recommend that aren’t going to require a loan.

Great phones at all

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Google’s Pixel 3a is Boringly Good, Which is Fine

Google’s Pixel 3a is Boringly Good, Which is Fine


Tim said that I need to bring some fire takes on the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, since I haven’t really mentioned the phone on the site after unboxing it. Ummm, I don’t have any. This phone is boring, but that’s probably good or fine. There, that’s my take.

OK, let me try to break that down some.

At $400 and all sorts of plastic, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL are not here to pull you away from the Pixel 3 or Galaxy S10 or soon-to-be-released OnePlus 7 Pro. They just aren’t. Those phones are better on multiple levels, which is why they cost hundreds of dollars more. In other words, if your budget is $900, you’ll get a better overall experience with those phones. You will.

With that said, at $400, the Pixel 3a is kind of nice! I don’t have final thoughts to share right now … Read the rest

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