All posts by Andrew Martonik
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December 6, 2016

From the Editor’s Desk: Smartwatches, the zombie product category

Taking a quick break from vacation to get back up to speed with the mobile world.

I’ve used my fair share of smartwatches over the past few years, starting with Pebbles, then picking up with Android Wear and watching Samsung figure out its wearable strategy with the each iteration of the Gear line. In that time I’ve also spent plenty of time with fitness bands on my wrist, which in the past year have turned into mini smartwatches in their own right. Smartwatches have evolved quite a bit, but one thing has remained the same: sales are low, and no company seems to be able to consistently ship them in considerable [...]

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November 30, 2016

Google Play doing even more to remove fake reviews and ratings

Fighting dishonest app reviews is a never-ending battle.

Google is constantly taking steps to combat a flood of fake reviews and ratings in the Play Store, and today reminded us of everything it’s doing to fix the problem. Building on its previously announced initiative of fighting fraudulent app installs, Google is also now even more confident it can identify and remove fake reviews for apps automatically without the help of developers.

From the Android Developers Blog:

In continuing our efforts to combat spammy behavior, we’ve also improved the ways we identify and remove fake reviews and ratings. With this enhanced capability [...]

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November 24, 2016

How to use Google Home with Chromecast

If you know the right commands, Google Home and Chromecast can come together to simplify media in your home.

Google Home sits in an interesting place. Not only can it operate independently to answer questions and stream its own media, it can also work with the Google Cast protocol in two different ways. You can Cast audio to from one of hundreds of apps directly to Google Home, but Home itself can also work as a controller to have other Cast-enabled devices start up their own streams.

If you have a Google Home and are looking to integrate it smoothly into your existing set of Google Cast devices — whether those are Chromecasts, Cast-ready speakers or [...]

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November 24, 2016

Google Pixel sales are strong at Verizon as big advertising spend continues

U.S. Pixel buyers seem to be picking Verizon as their carrier of choice.

Much as everyone (myself included) has bemoaned the “exclusive” launch of the Pixel on Verizon, it seems to be a winning strategy in the U.S. for both Google and the carrier. Even though you can buy a Pixel through several different channels unlocked, including Google’s own store, research has revealed that the Pixel is selling extremely well at Verizon directly.

Numbers show that Pixels accounted for 7.5% of all phone activations on Verizon since it became available, which is a hefty chunk for a phone that’s expensive and the first of its kind from [...]

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