An Early Look at Google Pixel 2

Google Pixel created quite a buzz when it was released in 2016.

The phone was highly promoted and laid its claim with an advanced camera. Sales have been steady but have posed no real threat to industry titans like Apple’s iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy.

Some believe Google Pixel sales failed to challenge the larger players due to a design that was nothing special and the price rather large at around $650.

Still many in the industry believe Google’s attempt to chip away at the Android market was a nice first step and have high expectations that the tech giant will release a new, improved version sometime this year.

Experts point to Apple and the mishaps and improvements it has made with each and every new phone release. They expect nothing less from Google.

What to expect? First think waterproofing. This is becoming an industry norm, found in iPhone 7 and Samsung’s Galaxy S7. Many believe the next version of Google Pixel will be both water and dust resistant. The company did not in include it in its first model but it should be a feature when “2” roles out.

Reports indicate Google wants to improve the camera. Already one of the top smartphone cameras available, the company may be focused on improving low light performance and adding a few new features.

Google Pixel fans may have to pay more. According to a report at 9to5Google the price could be higher. Major improvements would have to be necessary to justify a top of the market price tag.

Conversely the same report said Google is testing lower end Pixel devices as well, perhaps for a release to countries outside North America. These would have fewer features and a smaller price. Yet it would make sense if a lower end device was offered in the U.S. enabling Google to cover more ends of the market.

More power could be on the way. A higher-powered Snapdragon chip could be employed. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 was used in the first model. Rumors are the company is testing a Snapdragon 830 and/or 835 processor. Some Intel chips may also be considered.

Pixel has become the staple of all things Android and the first phone had the full release version of Android Nougat. The new version could have Android 0 (8.0) to continue on that path.

Phone size matters and little has been said about a Pixel XL 2. While many may have trouble locating an original Google Pixel XL, it would seem Google would want to continue the model, especially with the success of Apple’s larger iPhone 7 Plus with all of its extended features.

When can you count on seeing the Pixel 2? Many believe it will come this fall, about one year following the release of the original version.

How Google plays the release card will be interesting to watch as the new Apple iPhone 8, Samsung Galaxy S8, and LG G6, should all be ready for market about the same time.

Can You Enjoy the Galaxy S8 Without a Case?

Samsung just launched two of the most hyped phones of 2017, the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus. Not only are these the state of the art phones on the Android market, they are also a shot across the bows of Samsung’s biggest rival in the smartphone business, Apple. The iPhone has looked the same for three years in a row now while Samsung has iterated and improved its phones by leaps and bounds each year. So even before the new S8 and S8 Plus phones were launched, the iPhone was looking a little dated. It isn’t just the design either. Samsung managed to make the S7 waterproof even with the 3.5mm headphone jack whereas Apple’s claim that they had to ditch the jack to give the iPhone 7 water resistance made it sound like they had been out-engineered by Samsung. To make matters worse, the new Galaxy flagships from Samsung make even the design of the iPhone look dated. iPhones have never had the best screen to body ratios, with their huge chins and foreheads on their phones, while Samsung has been working at shrinking the bezels on their phones as much as possible for the last few years.

The end results is that the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus cases are both barely larger than the screen itself. The incredible 18.5:9 ratio screen might take a little getting used to and apps and the operating system will have to be tweaked to make best use of all the extra real estate. However, what makes it even worse is that the latest Galaxy phones make the iPhone 7 look dated and old-fashioned, a huge insult for a company that not too long ago sued Samsung for copying their design language.

Too much screen to use safely?

Which brings us to the original question posed at the start of this piece. Do the new Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus have too much screen? When we say too much screen, we mean too much to be used and carried around in your hand and pocket without the certainty that you will destroy the phones if you drop them even once. Also, if you do use one of the many Galaxy S8 cases or designer S8 Plus covers that are available online from sellers, are you essentially ruining what is the most important feature? There are literally thousands of designer cases available online for the new phones already, despite the fact that the phones aren’t even available around the world yet.

Case makers are even allowing people to create a custom case for the Samsung phone that they can’t even buy yet, in most countries. Buyers of Samsung’s latest flagship phones are just going to have to decide for themselves whether they want to live life on the edge or protect their very expensive new phones with a protective case.

What to Expect From the iPhone 8

Apple is expected to release the next generation of its iPhone series later this year.

The new iPhone 8 series, if rumors are correct, will be different in size and feel.

DigiTimes cited a source indicating Apple will launch three models in different sizes. These include 4.7, 5.5, and 5.8 inches. The phones are expected to be released in the second half of 2017.

The phones will have a curved display something like the 5.5 inch Galaxy S7 Edge.

The tech giant expects to sell a lot of these new editions. Some 60-70 million units are expected to be sold for the larger version alone.

Some believe the smaller two versions will actually be called the 7s and 7s Plus, as Apple has done with previous lines.

The iPhone 8 could be the special 10th anniversary edition as the company unveils a special phone to mark the decade old milestone.

Many reporters who follow this space say iPhone 8 will have an OLED screen. The screens will be supplied by Samsung.

The screens could be made of plastic instead of glass. Some believe the wrap round style OLED screen will have imbedded sensors for things like gesture recognition.

An article from PCADVISOR in the UK quoted Robert Scoble, a well-known tech strategist, who posted on Facebook that the phone screen will be a clear piece of glass where holograms can be put on top of the real world much like Microsoft HoloLens does. There will be a new kind of interface with a pop into it headset. The headset will have a sensor on it.

He quotes sources indicating the battery and the antennae will be hidden around the edges of the screen. Apple will fit in some of the pieces even while most of the chips that make up a phone are in a pack/strip at the bottom of the phone.

The article points to a report of a patent for a bezel free phone. The technology could feature a display technology that uses pixels capable of self-lighting (like OLEDs) arranged on a flexible surface with gaps in between.

Other rumors include a report that Apple will ditch the home button for a system that places the fingerprint sensing technology under the screen.

Both CNET and Apple Insider claim that Apple will forge the iPhone 8 from steel.

A new iPhone red color is also on tap, according to Japanese site Makotacara. This is in addition to the usual black, jet black, silver gold, and rose gold options.

The camera is thought to be a continuation of the dual lens set-up. Business Insider reports Apple is thinking of integrating augmented reality (AR) into the camera app.

Additional predictions include the new line of phones could feature wireless charging. The physical home button could also be removed.

Facial recognition and/or iris scanning is another possibility. Security could include biometric data storage, capturing the fingerprint and possibly the photo of the thief who stole the phone.

Some believe Apple is creating an electronic SIM card to replace the physical SIM cards used today. The benefit will provide the user with more flexible roaming and eliminate the need for specific SIM cards for each operation.

Pricing is still in limbo but many believe one or all of the so-called iPhone 8 series will be Apple’s highest priced phone to date.

Apple rarely misses with their new phone introductions and the new iPhone 8 series will be something the tech world is watching with the greatest of anticipation.

Xbox One S – Microsoft’s Newly Designed Gaming System

For gamers worldwide, the much anticipated newly developed Xbox One S is now on sale. For the more avid gamer that needs more space, the Xbox One S 2 TB edition is available now. With a plethora of features designed to make this the best Xbox ever made, it is the hottest system on the market currently to accommodate this year’s onslaught of cutting edge 4k television systems. The added design and specs under the hood of this game system by far brings amazement and charm to this much anticipated gaming experience.

Design

The design of the Xbox One S is derived with idea of being easier to handle. By this concept, they made this Xbox One S 40% slimmer than the latest Xbox One’s that have been released. Along with the sleek design comes the trimming down of accessories such as the power cord for the Xbox One which had a large ended power supply. This power supply has now been integrated internally in the console instead of being harnessed on the external power cord. To make things more competitive, the new Xbox One S has the ability to stand horizontally much like its competitor, the PlayStation 4, making a direct mark against this brand. The color of the Xbox One S is in a “Robot White” to bring a cleaner feel to this elegant design.

For Kinect users, which are used to the Xbox one having their Kinect port as part of the console, this has been a major change. The Xbox One S has no Kinect port and users that wish to use a Kinect will have to purchase an adapter in order to use this game experience on the Xbox One S. However, to replace this port, there is now a USB port on the front, with two in the back, and an IR blaster port in the front. For this reason, Xbox is currently offering a free Xbox Kinect Adapter for users that wish to connect their Kinect device.

Big Feature – 4K Ultra HD Compatible

The biggest feature improvement besides the sleek design is the support for 4K which previous models of the Xbox One did not support. Not only can you stream your favorite streaming networks on the Xbox One S, but you can also use its 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Playback. For more people looking for a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the player alone costs between $150-500. This console with all its features comes in at $399 which is only about $100 difference between the currently selling Xbox One that is on sale. To completely see the 4K Ultra details, the only missing component is a 4K Ultra television to view the details of the graphics.

Hardware Details

The Xbox One S boasts its ability to handle 4K HDR visuals including a 2TB hard drive. Later models will come with the ability to purchase a 500BG or 1TB storage option which in essence will also change the pricing of this system when you go down in hard drive space. For users that care to scale down on the internal hard drive and scale up on an external hard drive, that option is still available with the Xbox One S which has a USB 3.0 HDD port, which is standard on current Xbox One models.

The wireless controller also gets an update with an advanced grip feature which allows users to better hold the controller and handle game accuracy during game play. These controllers now run on Bluetooth technology.

PlayStation 4: Where Are We Now?

The PlayStation 4 launched in North America on November 15th, 2013. Some two and a half years later, the PlayStation 4 has received many changes to the overall design and interface. When the console originally launched it had a very simple user interface that was lacking many features. Since launch we have received an abundance of new notification options, more social connectivity, SharePlay, PlayStation Now, PlayStation Vue, a re-branding of PlayStation Music that now incorporates Spotify, and many more features. What does all of this mean for Sony as a company? These new additions have continued to help the PlayStation brand lead the pack in console sales, selling millions more units than its counterparts in the Wii U and Xbox One. But what can Sony do to continue to maintain this dominance in the console market?

One great way to accomplish this task is to continue pushing the envelope on the PlayStation technology and the services they are offering. New apps are added almost every week. New games are releasing every day. The console now boasts an array of games that contains hundreds of unique experiences for every variety of video gamer. Not only is the catalog strong now, the lineup for 2016 is looking bigger and better than ever. Some games to mention that should be coming out include Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, No Man’s Sky, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Street Fight V. Those are just the games that are console exclusives to Sony’s system. Not to mention the amount of third-party games that will release even more games on the console this year.

PlayStation is constantly innovating and we believe they will continue to do so well into the future. Now that we have looked at what is currently going on with the PlayStation 4, let us take a look at where it is headed and what you would like to see added to the console. We mentioned a good amount of the releases coming up, but what other things will Sony be adding to the interface and feature list of its console? Will they add folders to help clean up the user interface a little bit? Could they allow users to change their PlayStation Network ID? Some rumors even suggest they may be creating a PlayStation 4.5 that would add increased performance in a better package that may be announced soon. What would you like to see? We value our readers’ opinions and are always striving to have them as part of the conversation. Your opinion creates the backbone of our site and with it we are able to provide the best possible content out there. Thank you for reading.