Tag Archive | "back"

Looking back at the OnePlus One (and cheaper flagships generally)

Remember the OnePlus One? Chances are, anyone who owned the phone remembers it fondly for a number of reasons (if you need a refresher, check out my OnePlus One review).

In 2015, flagship smartphones started around $ 600, much like today. Samsung had just released the Galaxy S5, a premium device with what many considered to be a less than premium design and overall experience.

Seemingly out of nowhere, OnePlus burst onto the scene. It stirred up a lot of news after many of its members broke off from a big Chinese manufacturer, Oppo, to form the young company. That notoriety, and an aggressive guerilla marketing campaign, brought the company a ton of eyeballs when it announced a device it called the ‘flagship killer.

The OnePlus One ticked a lot of ‘flagship’ boxes. It had a Snapdragon 801 SoC, a high quality display, an above average battery, and an accessible version of Android. OnePlus managed to go above and beyond with a larger storage option and an extra gigabyte of RAM than its biggest Android competitor: the Galaxy S5. If a company that no one had ever heard of could out-spec Samsung for less money, it was worth paying attention to.

The phone had a fairly unique design too. Baby Skin white (which is still a weird name), Sandstone Black and replacement shells added even more uniqueness and gave the phone a measure of personalization. It wasn’t without its issues, like the beleaguered invite system, but it was clear how much people wanted this phone once it was revealed it didn’t also have a premium price.

The base model cost $ 299, with the 64 GB storage option priced at $ 349. Normally these kinds of prices meant getting something closer to a feature handset than a flagship. It meant users who were okay with sacrificing some of the more specialty features that Samsung or LG phones included could get a premium experience at almost half the price.

Don’t forget that the phone got cut down another $ 50 too, making it one of the most affordable flagship phones of all time.

So, why are we bringing this up? With the recent leak of a new OnePlus device, we wanted to look back at the company’s original flagship and see where it came from. Also, a couple of pieces came out on Android Authority recently which dive into a problem OnePlus tried to address back in 2015 with the One: rising smartphone prices.

The average smartphone price has gone up by 7% in the past year. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but remember the ‘average’ price is lowered by the midrange and the lower end markets. In just the flagship market, we’ve seen prices get close to (or even surpass) the $ 1000 mark with phones like the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy Note 8. While it can be argued from both of those companies that there are additional features which justify the prices, it’s still a lot of money.

Robert Triggs posits that these high price are one way for companies to create the premium mindset; that people perceive a really high price tag as an obvious indicator of the phone’s continued evolution. While there might be a lot of different opinions on this notion, it’s hard to argue with when phones like the Pixel 2 XL continue to sell out despite its price. Users demand the best, and some are okay with inflated prices to feel like they’ve got it, justified or not.

The OnePlus One sat in defiance of that notion— it provided a similar flagship experience to everyone at an affordable price. Though it definitely wasn’t the absolute best overall phone(for example, the camera could have used a bit of work), it was easy to excuse some of the issues because of its value for money.

Hardly any phones that came after it had the appeal of the One because even OnePlus had to start raising its prices. Perhaps to cover production costs or to just keep up with consumer perceptions of “advancement”. Now, the company that made its bones by bucking the trend of expensive phones, increasingly seems to be adopting the “if you can’t beat em, join em” mantra. OnePlus certainly never killed any flagships, and the company may become exactly what it once fought.

$ 1000 smartphones can be a troubling idea, one that has already become reality a few times this year. And with the rising price of even mid-range devices, it is admittedly tough to see even Android One phones fail to get below $ 350. Android One, remember, is a line of smartphones that is supposed to have the most minimal version of Android combined with basic hardware to deliver a reliable daily experience, albeit with managed expectations.

We’ve seen one intriguing offering from Xiaomi, and one somewhat questionably priced offering from Motorola in the Moto X4. HTC now has an Android One version of the U11 Life too. But are the days of low-priced flagship killers over?

It might not happen for even a couple of years, but eventually we will be due for another shake up. The upcoming release from OnePlus may not be it – that ship seems to have sailed already – but maybe one day the company can recapture the hype that an affordable flagship like the One received. Or maybe that task will fall to someone else.

While the OnePlus One was far from perfect it served its purpose. It let customers know there were solid alternatives to just spending more money. It reminded OEMs that there was an underserved clientele they were ignoring. The OnePlus One may even have been a catalyst for the steady improvement of cheaper phones since its debut, though we haven’t seen a device since that shares the idea of the One so purely. Consumers still want good cheap phones, it’s just a matter of who’s willing to step up to the plate and provide them.

If you were a previous OnePlus One owner, you may look back with some fond memories on the phone that you patiently (or impatiently) waited for an invite to purchase. After this year’s slew of very expensive devices, we don’t blame you.

Android Authority

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Facebook Messenger will soon let you pay your friends back with PayPal

Paying back your friends is getting even easier. Facebook Messenger has supported sending money through its platform for a few years now, but you had to use a credit or debit card. Now, Facebook is bringing PayPal into the fold. PayPal certainly has its faults, but it does provide another layer of protection in case someone gets ahold of your account.

You can access the new feature the same way you’d pay with your credit or debit card. Tap the blue plus icon, then hit the green Payments button. It’ll bring up two options and you can just move on with PayPal from there. Pretty easy stuff. If you’ve previously been using Facebook Messenger for payments like this, you can just tap the Change button and select PayPal. That’ll allow you to connect your PayPal account with Messenger.

In addition to the expanded payment functionality, you’ll now also be able to chat with a PayPal bot. The bot will assist you in tasks like answering questions, requests for help, and resetting passwords.

See also

The new PayPal payment feature is locked to the US as of right now, which is a bit of a bummer. Also, it looks like iOS is getting the feature first, but we’re hoping it shows up on Android soon. While finding a platform to pay your friends back hasn’t been a massive problem with popular apps like PayPal and Venmo out there, using an app that virtually everyone is on does have its benefits.

What do you think about this new feature? Do you use Facebook Messenger currently to send money? Will the addition of PayPal change that? Let us know down in the comments.

Android Authority

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BlackBerry awarded over $814 million back from Qualcomm in royalty overpayments

BlackBerry is going to be getting a lot of money back from its partner Qualcomm soon. The company revealed today that the final results of an arbitration for the two companies will result in BlackBerry getting back over $ 814 million in royalty overpayments from the mobile processor maker.

See also:

Which phones come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor?

3 weeks ago

The two companies agreed to enter arbitration to settle this overpayments dispute in April 2016. At the time, BlackBerry contented that a previous contract made with Qualcomm to cap certain royalties also applied to payments made by the Canadian company, under an older license agreement. The arbitration resulted in a decision in BlackBerry’s favor. The final amount of the award, which will include items like interest and attorneys’ fees,  will be revealed after another hearing on the matter on May 30.

BlackBerry stated in a press release that it was “pleased the arbitration panel ruled in our favor”. In its own press statement, Qualcomm said that while it does not agree with how this arbitration worked out, it admitted that “it is binding and not appealable”. It added that this decision only apples to BlackBerry, and will not affect its license agreements with any other company.

This decision comes just a few months after Qualcomm got sued by Apple in January, claiming Qualcomm overcharged for the use of its patents. Earlier this week, Qualcomm countersued Apple, claiming Apple was “misrepresenting facts and making false statements.”

Android Authority

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Update: Simple text statuses are coming back to Whatsapp

Update, March 16: Since WhatsApp’s launch, users had the ability to set a persistent custom status — which said “Hey there! I’m using WhatsApp” by default — until it was ditched last month for a Snapchat Stories-like alternative. Prompted by user feedback, WhatsApp has now announced that it will re-introduce text-based status feature.

In a statement to TechCrunch, WhatsApp said: “We heard from our users that people missed the ability to set a persistent text-only update in their profile, so we’ve integrated this feature into the ‘About’ section in profile settings. Now, the update will appear next to profile names anytime you view contacts, such as when creating a new chat or looking at Group info.”

WhatsApp won’t remove the recent image-based status component, however, users will simply have both options available. You can look forward to the return of the original status feature in the coming weeks and WhatsApp said it will be “continuing to build on” the Snapchat-style status option in the future. 

In its bid to further compete with Snapchat, Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp has announced a new feature called Status. It’s basically a version of Snapchat Stories, with the addition of full encryption.

In fact, WhatsApp has had a “status” tab in the app when it first launched in February 2009. However, it was just a text-based feature designed to show a user’s current availability. Today, the update that’s rolling out for Android, iOS and Windows Phone add much more functionality. Like Snapchat Stories, the revamped Status feature in WhatsApp lets users share photos and videos with friends, and those images will disappear after a short period of time. Unlike Snapchat Stories, though, the team at WhatsApp claims any shared content in the Status tab is “end-to-end encrypted”, which may attract more users who are concerned about security.

See also:

WhatsApp adds GIF support and video streaming

December 6, 2016

This is, of course, not the first such “clone” of Snapchat Stories. Another Facebook-owned app, Instagram, launched Instagram Stories in 2016. That launch has reportedly affected usage for Snapchat as a whole. In its recent IPO filing, the company showed that its growth rate went from 17.2 percent in the second quarter of 2016 down to a growth rate of just 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter of the year, after Instagram Stories launched.

This new feature for WhatsApp could also affect growth for Snapchat as well down the road. That could potentially be bad news as the company prepares to go public. It hopes to start trading its shares sometime in early March.

By the way, TechCrunch reports that WhatsApp currently has 1.2 billion monthly users worldwide, and they are sending 60 billion messages a day. That includes 3.3 billion photos, 760 million videos and 80 million GIFs. Are you a WhatsApp user? Do you think this revamp of its Status feature may keep you from using Snapchat in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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Android Authority

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New LG G4 teaser video shows off the device’s leather back

LG has just sent out a new 15-second teaser video, highlighting the upcoming G4’s leather backing. We’ve already gotten word from the company that the device will have a vegetable-tanned leather back, but it’s nice to see the device in action before its launch on the 28th.

LG hasn’t exactly kept quite about the G4’s specifications over the past few weeks. We know that the device will feature a 16MP rear-facing camera with an f/1.8 aperture, a big 5.5-inch QHD display, and will come with LG’s updated UX 4.0 software overlay. If you’re interested in learning more, a number of additional rumors and specifications can be found in our official LG G4 rumor roundup.

Are you excited for the G4’s leather back? Or would you rather have the device made of something else?

Android Authority

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Nexus Player back on sale through Google Play

Nexus Player TV

Shortly after first setting the Nexus Player live for pre-orders on Google Play’s website, the Android TV device’s status read “out of inventory”. As it turned out, Google wasn’t really out of stock so soon, instead it had yet to receive full approval from the FCC for the sale of the device. Without the approval, Google couldn’t legally sell the unit and so it took it down from presale. Thankfully, the Nexus Player has now successfully passed through the FCC over the weekend and is back up for pre-order, with a shipping target of 3 to 4 weeks.

As before, the device is $ 99 but you’ll also need a $ 40 game controller if you want to take full advantage of the gaming aspects of the hardware. Unfortunately, the controller is currently listed as “Out of Inventory” on Google play with no word as to when they’ll get more controllers in stock.

For those that haven’t decided whether or not the Nexus Player is right for them, they’ll want to check out our original announcement post for more details. So how about it, did you order to the Nexus Player or not?

Source: Google Play;
Android Authority

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