12.5 C
New York
Friday, June 5, 2020
Home Reviews


OnePlus 7T to debut September 26, reports suggest

UPDATE: Handset maker OnePlus has confirmed the US debut to be September 26 with the Europeans getting their phone event on October 10.PreviouslyWe’re but a few weeks away from the launch of the OnePlus 7T, says oft-accurate leaker OnLeaks and Compareraja. Both have sources which claim the OnePlus 7T and a 7T Pro will be introduced on October 10.The “T” release is often a stop-gap refresh of the flagship experience, keeping things current with other devices of the day.Reportedly, the phones will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus processor and a 16-megapixel ultra-wide camera. Additionally, the camera experience will be bolstered by a suite of photo modes, including a new macro option.OnePlus 7 Pro review: Three months with the flagship phoneOther than that, we’ve not seen anything to suggest the 7T and 7T Pro will be all that different from the 7 and 7 Pro. Not that this is a bad thing, though, because there’s an awful lot to like about its siblings. Take the 90MHz refresh rate, which makes browsing, reading, scrolling, and videos so much more interesting.Assuming these specs are accurate, here’s what we might see in the two phones.OnePlus 7T:Display: 6.55-inch (2400×1080 / 402 PPI) Fluid AMOLED / In-display Fingerprint Sensor (Optical) / 90Hz and HDR10+CPU: Snapdragon 855+ (7nm)GPU: Adreno 640RAM: 8GBROM: 128GB / 256GBRear Camera: Main 48MP (f/1.6) with OIS + EIS / Telephoto 12MP (f/2.2) with 2x Zoom / Ultra-Wide 16MP (f/2.2) with 120° field of viewFront Camera: 16MP (f/2.0) with EISBattery: 3800mAh / WARP Charge 30T Fast Charging (20% faster than OnePlus 7 Pro)OS: OxygenOS based on Android 10Misc: New Macro mode for closer shots / Nightscape mode / Super Slow-Motion recording at 960FPS 720p / Mate Glass BackOnePlus 7T Pro:Display: 6.65-inch (3100×1440 / 516 PPI) Fluid AMOLED / In-display Fingerprint Sensor (Optical) / 90Hz and HDR10+CPU: Snapdragon 855+ (7nm)GPU: Adreno 640RAM: 8GBROM: 256GBRear Camera: Main 48MP (f/1.6) with OIS + EIS / Telephoto 8MP (f/2.4) with 3x Zoom / Ultra-Wide 16MP (f/2.2) with 120° field of viewFront Camera: 16MP (f/2.0) with EISBattery: 4085mAh / WARP Charge 30T Fast ChargingOS: OxygenOS based on Android 10Misc: New Macro mode for closer shots / Nightscape mode / Super Slow-Motion recording at 960FPS 720p / Mate Glass Back

Google schedules hardware event for October 15

Google on Monday began sending out invitations to a hardware event for October 15 which takes place in New York City. It’s here where we expect to see the formal introduction of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL.Google’s 2018 event saw the debut of the Pixel 3, Pixel 3XL, Pixel Slate, a Google Nest Hub, and the revised Chromecast. It’s these annual October gatherings where Google shows off the new hardware that takes advantage of the software features introduced and/or shown off at Google I/O.Google confirms the Pixel 4 months months earlier than expectedPixel 4 confirmed to have gestures and face unlockGoogle Pixel 4 to have really awesome camera featuresGoogle took an unusual approach for 2019, confirming the existence of the Pixel 4 all the way back in June. The last few months have been a steady trickle of leaks and rumors around the flagship phone experience.Among the cooler features anticipated in the Pixel 4 are a take on Face ID, hand gestures, and some really interesting camera modes and sensors.In addition to the phones, Google is reported to have a Pixelbook 2 and new Google Home speakers up its sleeve. The invitation refers to a “few new things” so we’re anxious to see them unwrapped.

Vivo Nex 3 5G hands-on: Waterfall screen, Snapdragon 855 Plus, and a dash of 5G

The Vivo Nex 3 5G packs plenty of flagship-level features into a frame, while also delivering 5G connectivity.

Coolpad Dyno smartwatch review: Parents will love it!

Should the Coolpad Dyno kids smartwatch join your family? Come find out if it's worth your trust.

Just $30, AdGuard Premium protects PCs and phones from malware, phishing, and spyware

If your favorite websites are taking forever to load, or you find your mobile device overheating by simply trying to access your daily articles, it may be the case of too many ads.Ads can be done responsibly and are vital to the sustainability to almost all major websites. The problem is when the folks serving the ads don’t have a level of quality control and pass on buggy or problematic code that can overload your device. Worse yet, some sites even serve up ads that are designed to scam you.The great news is that AdGuard Premium is ready and available to block all types of harmful and annoying ads — even video and flash — for a lifetime!You’ll be able to restrict inappropriate content and safeguard your children’s surfing experience and speed up loading times by eliminating the junk. AdGuard Premium includes a license for two PC’s and two Android devices so all of your gadgets can be protected.FeaturesBlocks all types of ads including video, flash, and other unconventional adsRestricts websites w/ inappropriate content for children (Windows users only)Knows which sites can be trusted (uses Web of Trust data)Blocks ads before pages load into your browserProtects from phishing and malware websitesSpeeds up website loading times & saves bandwidthIncludes use w/ two computers & two Android devicesPurchase NowWhile this service regularly sells for $119, AndroidGuys readers can optimize their web experience, forever, for just $29.99! That’s a 75% discount on a lifetime’s worth of peaceful sleep.Best SellersSave even more!For every $25 you spend in the AG Deals Store you get $1 credit added to your account. And, if you refer the deal via social media or an email that results in a purchase, you’ll earn $10 credit in your account.First Time Buying?If this is your first time buying, you are also eligible for 10% discount! Just be sure to subscribe for email updates.Free StuffNot looking to spend any money today? No worries. You can still visit the AndroidGuys section for freebies and pick something anyhow.

AT&T Prepaid Buyer’s Guide (September 2019)

Many of you are likely familiar with the so-called “Big Four” wireless service providers of Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. A lot of people might assume that this is pretty much all there is when it comes to carrier choice in the US. That couldn’t be further from the truth.Most of the top-tier carriers offer their own prepaid services with different rate plans, phone selection, and support. Let’s take a look at one of them in particular: AT&T Prepaid.About AT&T PrepaidOnce known as GoPhone, AT&T Prepaid operates in the US using the same network as its tier-one brand and, for the most part, provides nearly identical coverage. One key difference is that there is no third party coverage in pockets of states such as Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska.AT&T Prepaid features include no annual contract, no credit check, and easy activation.These dirt cheap rate plans are $20 or lessBest unlocked phones under $150Best unlocked phones priced $150-$250AT&T 5G: Where is it available and which phones offer support?What are AT&T Prepaid rate plans like?AT&T Prepaid rate plans let subscribers go month-to-month with no long-term agreement or cancellation fees. Moreover, it does not charge for going over your allotted data; you receive “throttled” 2G  speeds on data for the remainder of the bill cycle.The prices shown below are with automatic bill payment, or AutoPay. Rate plans may vary based on limited-time promotions.$30/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 1GB of high-speed data$40/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 8GB high-speed data*$50/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with unlimited high-speed data$70/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with unlimited high-speed dataAre there any promotions?A limited-time promotion sees AT&T offering 8GB of extra data on the $40 plan, essentially doubling the data from its normal 4GB. For many people this amounts to virtually unlimited data.Mobile hotspot/tethering is available to most of the plans. There are other features available for the various plan, including unlimited calls and text to Mexico and Canada or usage in Mexico and Canada. Those on the 1GB or 8GB plans who do not use the allotted amount will be able to roll it over to the next month.Online Only OfferCurrently, AT&T Prepaid offers a deal which lets consumers get 8GB of data per month for $300 per year. In what amounts to just $25 per month, it requires a non-refundable prepayment. It includes unlimited talk and text within the US, Mexico & Canada, and unlimited text from the US to 100+ countries. The promotion ends October 21, 2019.What’s with the two unlimited plans?What’s the difference between the two unlimited plans? For the extra money you’ll pick up 10GB of mobile hotspot and HD video streams can be up to 1080p when turning off Stream Saver.For a limited time, those who sign up for the $70 ($85 without AutoPay) plan can also receive WatchTV at no additional cost.Are there any other features worth noting?AT&T Prepaid offers add-ons such as international calling and monthly data plans for tablets and hotspots. Moreover, add-on data can be purchased in the event you hit your plan’s data threshold.What about family plans?Customers interested in family plans or multiple lines can do so with discounted pricing. As of today AT&T Prepaid offers a discount on each line, when adding a line of service. Additionally, there’s also a discount for AutoPay, automatic bill payment. It’s possible to mix and match plans based off of individual data needs.Tell me about the phones at AT&T PrepaidTaking a look at the current lineup of phones offered through AT&T Prepaid we find familiar names from brands like LG, Motorola, and Samsung as well as those from Alcatel and ZTE.As one might expect, the overall selection pales in comparison to the standard AT&T brand and skews toward affordability instead of power. For those looking to save money there are also a handful devices which are certified restored.A few phones have promotions which might add credit to your account or save money when paired with a particular rate plan.Can I bring my own phone to AT&T Prepaid?You can often use your current phone on AT&T Prepaid, especially if it was previously paired with the standard AT&T service. Contact your current service provider to see if you can unlock your phone for usage on AT&T.We’re also seeing a growing trend of unlocked phones with support for AT&T and its Prepaid bands sold direct to consumer. Examples include models from Samsung, Motorola, Blu, Nokia, and Alcatel.

Doogee S40 review

Truly rugged phones don’t come around all that often, and when they do, we tend to take notice of them. Why? Because they don’t have any of the current trends in handsets. They’re not made from shiny glass and aluminum, don’t have sexy colors, and they tend to be “ugly”.Rugged phones don’t need to be pretty — they need to take a beating. They’re often wrapped in rubber shells with reinforced frames and come in blacks and greys.Most rugged phones trade a bit of performance for functionality and peace of mind. It doesn’t matter to a contractor or plumber if a phone can run in desktop mode or use AI for smarter photos. What does matter is that the device can be dropped in water or fall from a rooftop without completely breaking.Unlocked PhonesWhere to buy unlocked phonesThinking of buying unlocked? Here’s what you need to knowBest unlocked phones $150-$250Best unlocked phones $250-$400Chinese phone maker Doogee has a track record of creating budget handsets that work with GSM carriers in the US. They’re not always easy to get your hands on but it’s possible. As part of its phone portfolio, Doogee occasionally sprinkles a rugged model into its lineup. One of the most recent examples is the Doogee S40.We’ve had a Doogee S40 in our possession for more than a couple of weeks and have used it in tandem with our daily driver. Why not as our main phone? Primarily it comes down to carrier bands and supported frequencies. The S40 caters more toward a European crowd and offers limited US compatibility.We can’t speak to the call and data quality all that much, but we do feel qualified discussing its other features and details. Here’s our review of the Doogee S40 where we attempt to answer the more common questions around phones.What does the Doogee S40 look like?There’s no mistaking the S40 for anything but a rugged, rough and tumble device designed to go anywhere. It’s built from a polycarbonate frame which is reinforced by aluminum and coated in rubber.Black, with orange accents, the S40 has MIL-STD-810G resistance to drops and an IP68/IP69K protection against dust and water. With cover for the microUSB port and headphone jack, it can be completely sealed against particles and withstand pressure from water jets.All of this makes the phone to feel fairly heavy in hand. On paper it’s not as heavy as other rugged phones, but it comes across as dense and tough.A fingerprint scanner is located on the back with the power and volume buttons on the right-hand side. The left-hand side has an SOS button which can be personalized to call emergency services or a trusted contact when long pressed.A 5.5-inch IPS LCD display is protected by a fairly current Gorilla Glass 4 and has an 18:9 aspect ratio. It might sound like a sleek phone, but it’s not. There are plenty of bezels around the screen, which make it thick but they give the S40 just a bit of added buffer against breaking.How is the Doogee S40 screen?In a word, meh. The display is generally acceptable, but it’s not remarkable. What’s more, you’ll have a hell of a time seeing it in outdoor light. Even at peak brightness, we had trouble seeing the screen when taking pictures or reading a block of text.The resolution is just 480 x 960 pixels and is one of the lowest we’ve seen in a phone in some time. It’s just okay and does a fair job for messaging, web browsing, and other general usage.What’s the battery life like for the S40?Tucked inside the Doogee S40 is a generous 4,650mAh battery which provides great life. While we weren’t able to fully use the phone for LTE and calls in the wild, we did our best to put it through some paces on Wi-Fi.In our estimate, the S40 should get most users more than a day’s worth of usage on a single charge. There’s no fast charging or wireless charging, and it requires a microUSB port, all of which are semi-disappointing. Thankfully, we’re dealing with a $120 phone and not something more expensive.Describe the Doogee S40 software experienceSurprisingly, the S40 runs Android 9 Pie; we would have expected Android 8 at this price and hardware. It’s not stock Android, though, as it has Doogee’s custom skin, icons, and UI. Taken as a whole, it is anything but cohesive and the Doogee flavor reminds us of Android icons and aesthetics of ten years back.Security updates, at least so far, have been solid, but we don’t know how long Doogee plans to keep things rolling. Our review unit received two in the time we’ve had it. We certainly don’t expect Android 10 in the future.How’s the performance of the S40?The Doogee S40 has a 1.5GHz quad-core processor with 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage. For those who don’t know what that means, we’ll tell you — it’s old stuff, and it definitely shows.Get more than two or three apps open on the phone and you’ll likely find it stutter a bit and struggle to multi-task. There’s very little you can into without feeling as if the handset feels handicapped.We tend to use much more powerful phones as our daily driver so maybe we’re more sensitive to it. Then again, we did pass the S40 to others to see what they thought of it as they played around. Words like “slow”, “old”, “ugly”, and “a step backwards” were thrown at us.If your primary concern is having a phone with the best physical protection you can get, the options are somewhat limited. And, when you have a budget to work with, selection gets even tighter. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot to choose from; the S40 is on the short list.How’s the camera on the S40?Cheap phones often disappoint in the camera experience. The Doogee S40 is no exception. There’s an 8-megapixel camera on the rear and a 5-megapixel sensor on the front.Contrast and detail are lacking in just about any environment. Get to low light or night time situations and you’ll find a lot of grain and noise.We understand that the target demographic doesn’t care about selfies or taking pictures of food, but it should be better. We can imagine plenty of work scenarios where a utility worker, electrician, or plumber might need to take a photo for record keeping. Pictures would be barely passable and look really bad when compared to any other phone with a $120 price.Who is the target Doogee S40 user?Plumbers, trade workers, people who climb poles for a living, construction workers, or those who work on roadsides run the risk of damaging their phone — if it’s allowed on the job site.More often than not, rugged phones have a dedicated or target user. The S40 isn’t any different, except maybe that it is lower priced. If budget is a concern, it’s okay. If you have more money to work with, we suggest extra consideration for the pricier model(s).ConclusionThe Doogee S40 is unlocked and does have select band support for T-Mobile and AT&T. Similarly, it should work for Cricket, Metro, and the other MVNO brands. It’s more geared to European markets, though, and we caution against recommending it for US buyers.Occasionally we’ll suggest a phone for Wi-Fi or hotspots for people looking to buy something for their kids. Would we recommend this for someone who has young users in the house or accident prone children? Probably not in the US. 1 of 10 The water, dust, shock, and drop protection is great and the phone really does stand up to all sorts of accidents and ugly scenarios. Unfortunately, we’d rather go with another unlocked phone and throw a strong case on it.AvailabilityYou can learn more about the S4 at Doogee’s website and purchase it at its DoogeeMall site.

SERPStash: Solve SEO mysteries and boost your rankings, just $24

Search Engine Optimization is one of those “things” that not many people grasp. They might know what it is, and its importance, but they probably wouldn’t know where to start if they had to go about practicing or implementing it. That’s where SERPstash comes in handy.According to a recent report from research firm Clutch, approximately 83 percent of large-scale digital marketing outfits say they believed they were doing a good job achieving their respective goals. But, 44 percent said SEO was their “least popular” tool.READ: New Android phone? Do this first!Why the disconnect? It’s likely because it’s not as easy as people think. Sometimes gaming a system isn’t as easy as playing a game.Don’t be the guy who drops the ball in the area of SEO. Whether for yourself, or for your company, you need resources and tools, and you need to use them.We’re currently offering an all-you-need account with those exact tools: A lifetime subscription to SERPstash Premium service. Available right now for just $24 (over 90 percent off), it’s your answer to SEO prayers.SERPstash automatically analyzes your message and content, identifying top-performing keywords and auditing your pages for what you’re doing — right and wrong. Moreover, it suggests keywords to fit your content as well as tips for optimization.FeaturesAnalyze & filter ranking keywords related to your industryDiscover who is ranking for the same keywords that you decide to targetFind the top 100 highest quality websites linking back to your website & who is linking to your competitorsImprove your site’s speed w/ simple tests & insights from GoogleFind your site’s current ranking on Google & BingIdentify indexed pages, top queries & backlinking pagesTest whether or not your pages are considered “mobile-friendly” on Google search resultsYou’ll have access to nearly two dozen different tools to boost your site speed, find opportunities for improved indexing and backlinking, and more.SERPstash even dials in on your key competitors for deeper insight, pulling in the tricks helping them find success. You’ll know where you really stand in Google search rankings, what’s bringing you traffic, and the tools to land your site in Google’s prized top search results.A year of SERPstash Premium coverage typically costs about $500, but you can take advantage of a limited time price drop and get it all for $24. Best of all, it’s yours for as long as you want.Save even more!In addition to the savings above, when you buy through AndroidGuys Deals, for every $25 spent, you get $1 credit added to your account. What’s more, should you refer the deal via social media or an email that results in a purchase, you’ll earn $10 credit in your account.If this is your first time buying, then you are also eligible for a further 10% discount when you subscribe for email updates.How about a freebie?Not looking to spend any money today? That’s alright, we understand. Why not visit the AndroidGuys section for freebies and take something anyhow? Go ahead, grab two!

Verizon Prepaid Buyer’s Guide (September 2019)

Many consumers in the US are familiar with the top-tier wireless service providers in Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. They’re the so-called “Big Four” and what a lot of people think are the only players in the game. That’s hardly the case.Select carriers offer their own prepaid services with different rate plans, phone selection, and support. Let’s take a look at one in particular, Verizon Prepaid.What’s different from Verizon?Verizon Prepaid operates in the United States using the same network as the tier-one brand and, for the most part, provides nearly identical coverage. One key difference is that prepaid customers may face roaming fees in select areas.There are no credit checks required for service and there are no activation fees at the time of subscription.What are Verizon Prepaid rate plans?Verizon Prepaid rate plans are no-contract, meaning you can go month-to-month with no long-term agreement or cancellation fees. Moreover, it does not charge for going over your allotted data; you receive “throttled” 2G  speeds on data for the remainder of the bill cycle.$30/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 1GB high speed data$40/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 6GB of high-speed data*$50/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 16GB of high-speed data*$70/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with unlimited high-speed dataCustomers who sign up for the 3GB and higher rate plans can save $5 per month by enrolling in automatic bill payment. Prices become $35, $45, and $65, respectively.Mobile hotspot/tethering is available to subscribers but it is capped at 600Kbps and doesn’t provide true sharing of the 4G speeds.Limited Time Double Data PromoFor a limited time, the $40 and $50 plans provides double the data per month. In essence, it’s 6GB and 16GB each month, respectively, for the same money. The $30 rate plan normally includes 500MB of data, but also has double the amount (1GB) for a limited time.There’s no date listed as to when they’ll expire so it’s possible they’ll stick around.Click here to access Verizon Prepaid FAQs.What about multiple lines at Verizon Prepaid?Customers interested in family plans or multiple lines can do so with discounted pricing. As of today Verizon Prepaid offers a discount of at least $10 per month, per line when adding a line with 3GB or more of data. It’s possible to mix and match based off of individual needs.Add line with 3GB (6GB per promo) data, receive $10 discount per monthAdd line with 8GB (16GB per promo) data, receive $15 discount per monthAdd line with unlimited data, receive $20 discount per monthAre there any other Verizon Prepaid features or offers?Verizon Prepaid provides a handful of extras to its customers, including international calling and the ability to use allotted data overseas.How is the handset selection at Verizon Prepaid?Take a look at the current lineup of Android phones offered through Verizon Prepaid  and you’ll find familiar models from brands like LG, Samsung, Google, and Motorola. There are also devices from the likes of Nokia, ZTE, and Reliance Communications, too.Among the models available today are the Samsung Galaxy S10+, LG V40 ThinQ, and Google Pixel 3 XL.For those looking to save money there are also a handful devices which are certified pre-owned, meaning they come with their own guarantee/warranty.Bring Your Own DeviceYou can often use your current phone to Verizon Prepaid, especially if it was previously paired with the standard Verizon service. Head to Verizon Prepaid’s website to check whether your specific model is supported.Also, we’re seeing a growing trend of unlocked phones with support for Verizon and its Prepaid bands. If buying an unlocked phone, be sure to check for Verizon compatibility or “universally” unlocked models.

These dirt cheap rate plans are $20 or less

Surely you’ve seen commercials for cell phone carriers with lots of fanfare hype for a plan that costs “only” $40-$50 per month. Sometimes it’s for a single line, but more often than not it’s when dealing with multiple lines. That’s hardly a bargain.While it might be tempting to sign up with one of the big four carriers, there’s a whole range of other providers that might work just as well for you — and save you hundreds per year.These Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) often cost much less per month but still provide the features consumers need. You might not get a ton of extra options like hotspots, free music streaming, or a ton of data, but that’s okay.Rate PlansCheap cell phone plans that use the Verizon networkCheap cell phone plans that use the AT&T networkCheap cell phone plans that use the T-Mobile networkCheap cell phone plans that use the Sprint networkIf you spend a lot of time on Wi-Fi, or don’t travel all that much, we definitely suggest looking into the various MVNO brands.$20 or LessHere, we spotlight a collection of phone plans that you can get for just $20 per month, or less.Nearly all of them are standard rates and don’t require any long-term commitment. Only a few are introductory offers or require automatic bill payment; we’ll call them out where applicable.Good2Go Mobile – $20Unlimited talk, text3GB 4G LTE dataIncludes $5 Auto Pay creditUses AT&T networkH2O Wireless – $20Unlimited talk, text1GB 4G LTE dataInternational talk to 50+ countriesInternational textUses AT&T networkMint Mobile – $15*Unlimited talk, text3GB 4G LTE dataFree calls to Mexico & CanadaData can be used for mobile hotspot*Introductory rate – goes up to $25 after three monthsUses T-Mobile networkNet10 Wireless – $20Unlimited talk, text1GB 4G LTE dataUses Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint networksRepublic Wireless – $20Unlimited talk, text1GB 4G LTE dataUses T-Mobile and Sprint networksSimple Mobile – $20*Unlimited talk, text3GB 4G LTE data*Introductory rate with Auto Reup – goes up to $25 after three monthsInternational talk to 69 countriesInternational roaming to 17 Latin American countriesUses T-Mobile networkTello – $19Unlimited talk, text3GB 4G LTE dataCalls to US, Canada, Mexico, ChinaData can be used for mobile hotspotUses Sprint networkTing – $20Up to 500 minutes talkUp to 1,000 text messagesUses T-Mobile and Sprint networksTracfone – $20Unlimited talk, text1GB 4G LTE dataUnlimited carryover dataUses Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile networksTwigby – $14.25Unlimited talk, textUnlimited international texting1GB 4G LTE dataUnlimited international callingData can be used for mobile hotspot*Introductory rate – goes up to $19 after six monthsUses Sprint and Verizon networksUltra Wireless – $14Unlimited talk, text1GB 4G LTE dataUnlimited calling to 80+ countriesData can be used for mobile hotspotUses T-Mobile networkUS Mobile – $20Up to 1,000 minutes talkUnlimited text1GB 4G LTE dataUses T-Mobile networks

Hey Google, it’s ‘time’ to copy Apple

We’re fresh off another Apple hardware event and in focus right now is the new triple camera iPhone 11 series. And, while some still buy into the Apple vs. Android nonsense, there’s one product that’s being glossed over: the Apple Watch.The new Series 5 Apple Watch is not a big upgrade. In fact, the biggest change for consumers is the inclusion of an always-on option for the display. The watch now dims but keeps the display active so you can quickly glance to see the time and complications.Interestingly enough, Apple claims the 18 hour battery life from the Series 4 carries over to the Series 5 despite this new feature. Yes, Wear OS watches have had this feature for a while. That doesn’t matter.The point is that Apple took an incredibly popular product, and added a small but noteworthy feature. It’s something users have long wanted and Apple figured out how to give it to them without a negative impact.This is one of the reasons the Apple Watch is so popular. Its users actually like using it.Do you like it or just deal with it?Wear OS users, do you like using your smart watch or do you use it because it’s the best of the rest? In other words, are you merely content with the watch?There’s no comparable alternative for Android users. There’s a smattering of Wear OS watches, mostly made by Fossil, some Tizen-based options from Samsung, and then there is Fitbit and the smart activity and health trackers of the world.While the “different but the same” strategy works for Android phones, its obviously does not translate as well to wearables. Device makers can add software features but they can’t change Wear OS in any real way due to Google’s hold on the OS.At first, I thought that Google’s grip was going to be fantastic for the future of Android wearables. At the time we were living in the world of TouchWiz and other similar, terrible phone interfaces. Now, it’s obviously something that holds the whole ecosystem back and I fear Google isn’t serious about Wear OS.SEE ALSO: Google ruined Wear OSThe company can say it is. Words say one thing, but its actions say something else.There have been redesigns and new navigation actions added to Wear OS but it’s still the same slow, glitchy, unappealing mess it always has been.Should we blame hardware?Maybe Wear OS is so bad because the hardware it’s running on is even worse. Qualcomm released an upgraded 3100 Wear chip this year, which is a slight upgrade to the four year old Wear 2100 chip. Two refreshes in almost five years is crazy.I get it. This is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Qualcomm isn’t going to devote major resources on a project that isn’t going to return profits. Google probably can’t make huge improvements to the OS due to hardware restrictions. Where do we go from here?Time for a changeI think in this instance Google needs to follow Apple’s lead and produce its own hardware from end to end. While Apple does source some of its components, it makes its own processors. That’s what gives it the flexibility to add in features and plan for many years down the line.Google has shown that it’s not afraid to spend some money on its hardware ventures. It bought HTC’s hardware division, picked up Motorola and Nest in similar deals and continues to spend significant capital on producing Pixel phones, earbuds, and smart displays. It also owns some of Fossil’s tech, too.Why isn’t the company investing in its own processor tech for wearables?Time keeps on tickin’It seems like the only way forward is a so-called “Pixel Watch” with a Google-made processor. Google must produce a class-leading watch to give Android users a real option.More than that, it needs to provide a proof of concept that will generate interest in the platform. Then, Google needs to help out its partners, selling them that processor in a cost-effective manner to serve the greater good.None of these things will be easy. Building a new hardware platform is very difficult and that’s why there’s only a handful of companies around the world that do it. Building any kind of new hype about an old OS might actually be more difficult. If Google wants to continue to play in the wearables space, it has to make some hard decisions.As my Great Aunts like to say, it’s time to shit or get off the pot.

Most Read

Everything we know about Minecraft Dungeons cross-platform support

Cross-platform support is coming to Minecraft Dungeons, but it's not here yet. Here's what you need to know.

Intel’s 2020 road map gap leaves AMD’s Ryzen 4000 to go unchallenged

Enthusiast gamers need to look elsewhere for high-end desktop processors in 2020

The June 2020 security patch is now rolling out to the Galaxy Fold

The Galaxy Fold 5G, however, will need to wait a while longer.What you need to knowSamsung is now propagating the

How to watch Council of Dads live stream online from anywhere

Based on the 2010 memoir written by New York Times best-selling author, Bruce Feiler, NBC's new drama, Council of Dads