The Android app Brightest Flashlight has been installed between 50 million and 100 million times, averaging a 4.8 rating from more than 1 million reviews. Yet its customers might not be so happy to learn the app has been secretly recording and sharing their location and device ID information.
I’m willing to bet a non-negligible amount of money, actually, that the number of shits given among those who’ve installed this app is less than or equal to 0.01. These users will never even know that their movements are filling a creepy database, and they wouldn’t care a whit even if they did know.
Samsung announced today that the Galaxy Mega 6.3, the company's biggest “phone” device to date, will be available in the US this month. The Mega 6.3 has a 6.3-inch, 720p display; 1.7GHz dual-core processor; 8-megapixel camera; and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with Samsung's user interface.
You know an Android “phone” is absolutely, positively, stupid-o-riffically too damn big when even The Verge puts scare quotes around “phone.”
What I saw today at Apple’s annual WWDC event in the new iOS 7 was a radical departure from the previous design of the company’s operating system — what CEO Tim Cook called “a stunning new user interface.” But whether this new design is actually good design, well, that’s a different story entirely.
Don’t get me wrong, iOS is a beautiful and well-structured mobile operating system — but it’s begun to show its age. It feels less useful to me today than it did a couple of years ago, especially in the face of increasingly sophisticated competition.
The above opinions seem to fall into that Reverse Reality Distortion Field in which everything Apple does sucks, period. iOS 6 was “stale,” and then the second its design language changes, it’s “childish” and “confusing.” I’m not going to claim that Topolsky can’t be legitimately disappointed here, but something smells fishy when nothing Apple does will please the guy who said of the Galaxy Nexus that “There’s no lag, no stutter. Animations are fluid, and everything feels cohesive and solid.” No sane person who’s ever touched an Android device could possibly actually believe that to be true. Give me a break.
How can we talk about who’s “winning” if we can’t agree on what “winning” is? In case you hadn’t noticed, the gadget business isn’t all that much like Formula One racing, Yahtzee or curling. There are no rules; there aren’t any well-defined opposing forces; the battle has no beginning or end. And zero-sum thinking — the assumption that one company doing well hurts another, or that all companies are even playing the same game — is often out of whack with reality.
I didn’t realize until just now that sanity is, in fact compatible with discussion of gadgets. This changes everything.
Kidding aside: the childish black vs. white, oppressively binary way of thinking that so pervades tech journalism is more than a nerdy fanboy phenomenon. Our entire culture operates this way. We hate ambiguity. We loathe nuance. We think people are either Americans or Terrorists. If a movie makes money, it’s good; if a movie makes money, it’s bad. And so on. Nearly every human judgment is artificially constrained within an infantile boolean-only logical system.
Anyway, let’s get back to what we do best. Reality TV: cultural feces, or The Literature Of Our Age? (Hint: feces.)
The price of the Droid 3 has been dropped to $99 in anticipation of the Droid 4! In related news, the Droid 5 will be released on February 9. The Droid 6 will be released on February 10. The Droids 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 will be released, progressively throughout the day, on February 11.