You can’t always get what you want.

Over the past few years, there’s been a clear trend across the smartphone industry to go thinner, lighter and more compact in attempt to give you the most screen size per cubic millimeter of phone size. We were surprised when phones snuck under the 10 mm thickness threshold, and now 8 mm is about the norm. Bezels have consistently shrunk to accommodate ever-higher screen-to-body ratios. Battery capacities have generally stagnated due to (admittedly small) advancements in battery tech being counteracted by physically smaller cells. We’ve lost, for the most part, things like front-facing speakers, stereo speakers, headphone jacks and more — all in the name of having even more compact phones wrapped around big screens.

But even still, we clearly aren’t satisfied — apparently we want these companies to keep going. A new phone cannot be announced without seeing complaints in our comments and on Twitter about it having screen bezels that are too big, a back that’s too thick or rounded, or a screen that’s too big (in an effort to keep bezels small and the body thin) to wrap your hand around.

But coinciding with these complaints about phones still being too big, whenever we see a phone go super thin and compact, which is apparently what everyone wants, there are somehow still complaints. Samsung released the Galaxy S8, which maximizes screen real estate and reduces just about everything else, and people complained there wasn’t enough phone to hold onto. The same complaints have already started relating to the LG V30, which is expected to have a curved display. Motorola launched the extremely thin and light Moto Z2 Force, and we complained it’s too thin and light, saying that we’d prefer more battery instead.

So my question is: what, exactly, do you want? When you ask for a thin, light, compact phone with a big screen … but that also still has a large battery and all of the other extra features, you’re asking for something that cannot exist with current technology. I feel like a broken record, but it bears repeating: everything you do in a smartphone has a consequence associated with it. You can’t shrink bezels without also affecting thickness. You can’t add battery without adding weight. You can’t make a phone thinner without compromising camera component size. Everything you add to a smartphone takes up room inside, which means something has to be removed or the phone has to be thicker (or both).

Smartphone companies are just responding to the consumer demand for thinner and lighter phones.

Big smartphone companies, for all of their seemingly large disconnect from the “real” consumers out there, have seen time after time that the thinner, lighter and sleeker the phone, the better it sells. Everyone in the comments on Android Central articles can make as many claims to the contrary as they wish, but the average consumer wants thin and light. Yes they want other features, too, but thin and light are high on the list and those features immediately sell phones in the store. And as I noted above, even the smartphone fans here at AC truly want thin and light — they just aren’t as amenable to giving up anything to get it.

So what’s a company to do? They go where the market wants them: thinner and lighter phones with smaller bezels … and therefore smaller batteries and fewer “fringe” features like front-facing speakers. Every phone has compromises.

Beyond those philosophical thoughts, here are some other quick takes on the week:

  • Daniel’s Moto Z2 Force review encapsulates most of my feelings on the phone. While all phones have some level of compromise within them, Motorola seemed to make too many compromises, and also wrong compromises. I’ll work up more of my thoughts on the phone in the coming week or two.
  • Motorola’s black-and-white camera sensor really is fantastic. Shame the camera experience is so slow and the color photos are just average. Not good enough for this level of phone.
  • The LG V30 looks very exciting. And though there are plenty of V10 and V20 fans upset about the V30 losing its rugged appeal, as I noted above that’s just not what the industry wants.
  • I have a few crazy weeks ahead, with everything coming together ahead of Samsung’s Note 8 launch in NYC on August 23, and then IFA over in Berlin just a few days later. Going to get crazy — and fun.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, and have a great week.


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Showers can be boring (especially the lonely ones!), and shower thoughts can just end up making you feel way less relaxed than a show should. Some people also happen to sing their best when in the shower — or so we tell ourselves.

Whatever your reason for wanting music in the shower, you need a speaker in your bathroom. Cords probably aren’t the best idea (you know — death by electrocution), so you’ll want a convenient Bluetooth speaker that lets you wirelessly blast your tunes. Not all Bluetooth speakers are created equal, however, so you’ll need something that’s at least water-resistant so that you don’t fry it the first time out.

Enter the XXL shower speaker, which has a driver twice the size of usual shower speakers, blasting out your music at 3W.This powerful speaker retails for $99.99, but through Android Central Digital Offers, you pay just $19.99, a savings of 80%.

The XXL sticks to any non-porous surface via suction cup, making it perfect for shower tile, glass shower doors, mirrors, and more. It uses Bluetooth 4.0 technology and has a large battery that usually requires charging less than once a month, so you can go a while without missing out on shower tunes. You can even take and make calls, thanks to the convenient microphone.

If you’re looking for a great shower speaker that has a large driver but a compact body, then check out the XXL shower speaker at Android Central Digital Offers. It’s $20, down from $99.99, so you save 80%.

See at Android Central Digital Offers

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You really can have too much of a good thing.

A side effect of having the world at your fingertips is information overload. With every gadget and gizmo connected to each other, you can literally find any information you need with just a few clicks or taps or swipes. That’s pretty amazing and a fine way to make the world a better place with all the understanding and critical thinking it brings. But we’re not computers, and it’s easy to get overloaded.

My phone can tell me whatever stupid thing some politician said this morning (as well as the stupid things everyone else had to say about it) or how the next phone we’ll be buying is missing a headphone jack or might not have 3D touch or that World of Warcraft gold is worth more than Venezuelan currency. It can also tell me what a great time friends had at the park or that the movie I wanted to see really sucks according to some guy I don’t know who is paid to tell me movies suck. Then it gives me an avenue to add to the noise and voice my level of approval and/or astonishment about it all.

My phones tells me what I need to know as well as a ton of stuff I don’t.

This is great stuff. Whether we find it all informative or entertaining, or both, it’s pretty cool to be part of a worldwide discussion about politics or movies or World of Warcraft gold and its economic impact. But eventually, we all get stressed because it becomes too much. This can and will have an effect. We’ve all seen that person we know have a spectacular meltdown over the dumbest shit. Sometimes, we’ve been that person melting down. Everyone has a breaking point when the noise becomes more than we can filter. But there’s an easy way to break the cycle.

The power button.

We can’t get away from stress. It’s easy to say that these are stressful times and things will get better, but that’s a lie. Times have always been stressful and we’ve been told things will always get better, but that ain’t happening. Tomorrow will bring new problems and worries to go along with them, and we’ll always have good reason to be concerned about the world around us. People in the U.S. are worried about health care and people in Venezuela are worried about economic collapse and people in Syria are worried about getting killed. These are important issues we all should be thinking about and discussing, and if you’re directly affected it’s natural to be afraid. It’s also natural for anyone to feel hopeless or compassionate or angry. Or a mixture of the three.

Just don’t get so consumed from the sidelines that you stop making things better. And when the unimportant noise tries to suck you in, know when to say enough is enough and turn it off for a while.

Information can be addictive. So can the technology that delivers it. Do yourself a favor and shut it all down once in a while. Facebook will still be there when you come back.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |