Features

Google’s Pixel strategy is doing exceedingly well, at a cost

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When friends ask me for tips on buying techie products, one piece of advice constantly comes up: Don’t be an early adopter of first-generation gadgets. Why? Because bugs need to be ironed out first, and brands never show all their cards on the first attempt. This way of thinking is about to change, however, and it begins with Google and ends with Pixel.

Google’s pair of Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones haven’t reached the consumer market yet, but they’re already being showered with glowing reviews.

Well-respected tech journalist Walt Mossberg calls it the “best Android phone” he’s ever tested; Wired is “totally in love with the Pixel”; and Gizmodo says the Pixel makes a strong case if you must buy an Android, even though they’re calling it “dumb and ugly.”

Reviews have been so good, in fact, that Alphabet (Google’s parent company) has experienced its highest stock prices since 2004, according to a report by Bloomberg. The cherry on top: Both phones are currently out of stock because of the overwhelming demand.

[irp posts=”5053″ name=”Google Pixel got the ‘little brother, big brother’ tandem right”]

Sentiments from other outlets have been largely the same, with the only complaints being the sky-high prices, lack of waterproofing, and bland physical design. Do the cons sound a little familiar? Those have been shots taken against Apple’s iPhones for the longest time (only the second con changed recently), making the Pixel a perfect rival in both strengths and weaknesses.

Still, as happy as we are for Google and consumers wanting more choices, the Pixel strategy is alienating Android’s most important supporters: third-party manufacturers.

By releasing a high-end pair of smartphones that’s truly its own, Google is now a direct competitor to the companies it has been working so closely with since Android’s conception, sending a harsh signal to hardware partners that there’s an even better way to handle its operating system, way beyond what Nexus has ever done.

The Pixel strategy is alienating Android’s most important supporters: third-party manufacturers.

Despite having the Pixels manufactured by HTC, the search giant has the software and hardware process under its control from start to finish. This is distinctly different from the way the Nexus series was handled, wherein the likes of Huawei and LG had their own say for the design, and were only required to lay out a fresh layer of Android inside.

Samsung is clearly the most affected brand. Now that the Galaxy Note 7 is out of commission, you’d have to look all the way back to February to find Samsung’s current, yet somewhat stale, Galaxy S7 flagship line. The development surely doesn’t bode well for the Korean company, who has been largely responsible for boosting Google’s mobile operating system to an 87 percent market share last quarter, thanks to a 22 percent smartphone market share of its own.

LG V20 Nougat

“Sorry about that” – Google to LG

LG has also been caught in the crossfire. Its phablet flagship, the yet-to-be-shipped V20, has been heavily marketed as being the first smartphone to have Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, only for it to be outshone by the 7.1 version the Pixel smartphones will come with at around the same time. We wonder if Google knew about this in advance, or if they sent a really nice fruit basket to LG’s headquarters.

The only major player to benefit from Google’s new-found success is HTC. Even though its own self-branded smartphones continue to slump sales-wise, the Taiwan-based company actually saw a 41 percent revenue jump last month. Once the Pixels begin shipping, HTC’s fortunes will surely turn around, in spite of the lack of branding.

The only major player to benefit from Google’s new-found success is HTC.

As for how Chinese brands Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi, and the like feel about this, well, they’re too busy raking in mountains of cash from dominating the entry-level and midrange markets — two segments Apple and Google don’t really care about at the moment.

The situation is similar to the topic we touched on when we talked about Project Ara’s demise a month ago. Android partners already feared Google had shot them in the foot by buying Motorola to produce its own phones. When the Mountain View company changed its mind and sold the well-known handset manufacturer to Lenovo and began work on its modular phones, brands such as LG and Samsung looked into alternatives to the Android OS.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), Project Ara didn’t push through, so third-party brands had less competition to worry about — but then Pixel came in, and here we are. Oh, Google!

[irp posts=”4335″ name=”Project Ara’s story is all about wasted potential”]

Features

Why the IdeaPad is an ideal partner

For getting started and more

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Lenovo IdeaPad

Every good thing we have today began with an idea. But it didn’t end as just being that.

When you’re in the late stages of college or university education or perhaps about to enter the workforce, this is the time when you’re full of youthful energy and a desire to make a dent in the world.

It’s also around this time that you’re bursting at the seams with ideas on what you want to do, and what you want to contribute to society. You might also be looking for a tool that can help you bring these ideas to life.

It’s a critical time in your life and you may not have the resources for multiple tools. So if you’re putting all your eggs in one basket — or in this case one gadget — let it be something that’s powerful, versatile, and can match all your needs.

Here’s an idea: Perhaps you should get a Lenovo IdeaPad! We think you should choose the new IdeaPad Slim 5/5i or IdeaPad Flex 5/5i. Read on to know why.

The processing power you need 

The IdeaPad Slim 5/5i and Flex 5/5i are equipped with fresh Intel or AMD Ryzen processors to go along with configurations of up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM and up to 1TB of SSD internal storage. That means all the computing power and speed you would need to last you for a few years.

Whether you’re dealing with tons of documents, endless pages of spreadsheets, and slide after slide of presentations, an IdeaPad will have you more than covered.

A workhorse like you deserves a partner that can more than keep up. These IdeaPads come with batteries that can stay with you for over 10 hours. Whether you’re making things happen at home or lugging it around for necessary remote work, it’s a device that has enough juice for a day.

Tools that keep you going

If you’re working with videos and images, the IdeaPad Slim 5/5i and Flex 5/5i will surely help in bringing your ideas to life. The only limit is your imagination.

It’s peppered with ports to unlock the multimedia mage in you. IdeaPads typically have a USB-C port, two USB 3.1 ports, a DisplayPort, an SD card reader, and an audio jack. You’re also equipped with competent connectivity (WiFi 5, Bluetooth 4.2). That’s everything you need to work your magic.

If you’re really deep into the arts, the IdeaPad Flex 5/5i comes with a stylus to give your creativity even more flexibility. Flip it however you like and whatever form you’re comfortable with. This is a gadget line that won’t leave you wanting.

A worthy partner

Life is already difficult enough as it is. Make it easier on yourself by choosing a partner that will help you achieve your goals. A partner that can stay with you through the grind and enable you to do things you probably didn’t think you’re capable of.

You need a partner that you can just let loose on without fear that it will give up on you at a crucial moment. This is what Lenovo IdeaPads are built for. They’re designed to provide you better opportunities, greater connectivity, and the ability to transcend limitations with its smarter technology and solutions that unlock your potential when turning ideas into reality.

The IdeaPad Slim 5/5i and Flex 5/5i are pre-installed with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2019 and come bundled with Lenovo’s 3-Year Premium Care warranty upon purchase. This top-notch service provides customers with direct access to Lenovo engineers. They can guide you on basic troubleshooting and do an annual PC Health Check, as well as on-site repairs if absolutely necessary.

Don’t let yourself be held back by machines that fall short of the greatness you wish to achieve. With a Lenovo IdeaPad, you’re equipped with the necessary tools to make it big. Once you have one, all you really need is an idea to build on.


Contact any Lenovo authorized reseller to get your hands on an IdeaPad: http://lenovoph.com/authorizedresellers

This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Lenovo Philippines.

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Apps

How to get NBA League Pass with your telco provider

There are two package options

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NBA action is in full swing. In fact, it has been since August when the season restarted following a shut down that was caused by the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic. As of writing, we’re in the thick of the Conference Finals series. If you want to catch all the action, here’s how you can get NBA League Pass through different telecomm providers in the Philippines.

It’s now easier than ever to get access to the games legally. All of Smart, PLDT, and Globe are offering the same price packages.

PhP 85 — Watch any three games of your choice
PhP 485 — 30-day pass for all games including live and on-demand

Here’s how to get the subscription for each provider.

Smart Postpaid and Prepaid
(Also works with TNT and SUN Postpaid)

  • Download the NBA app (iOS / Android /APKPure)
  • On the app, click on the icon at the top-right corner
  • Click sign-in
  • A banner on top of the page will appear for Smart, Sun and TNT subscribers
  • Click ‘Get Started’
  • Enter mobile number for verification and a one-time PIN which will be sent to your mobile number
  • Choose your provider: Smart, TNT or Sun.
  • Choose your NBA League Pass Package (3-game or 30-days) and enter mobile number
  • Confirm your payment by entering the one-time PIN sent to your mobile number
  • Click NBA logo and start watching

PLDT Home

  • Go to pldthome.com/nbaleaguepass
  • Select your preferred package
  • The amount will be added to your next bill
  • PLDT will give a voucher
  • Download and sign-in to the NBA app
  • Enter the voucher in the promotion code field
  • Click NBA logo and start watching

Globe

  • Open the GCash app
  • Go to Buy Load
  • Look for the PayTV tab
  • Choose your preferred package. (Note: The chosen package is valid for 90 days).
  • Confirm payment
  • Open the NBA app and enjoy!

As mentioned earlier, we’re no in the Conference Finals with four teams remaining. Dueling in the West are the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets. Meanwhile in the East, it’s a battle between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics.

A new NBA champion will likely be crowned in the next 30 days so now is the best time to subscribe!

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Accessories

Apple Watch Series 6 vs Watch SE: Unboxing and Buyer’s Guide

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There’s a new Apple Watch iteration every year — although this year, we have two new models to unbox. Other than that, we also have the newest one-piece bands called ‘Solo Loop’ — both in silicon and braided.

Although Apple completely removed the charging brick out from the usual packaging, they packed several new features on the Watch Series 6 including the new blood oxygen sensor and Always-On Altimeter. Meanwhile, the Watch SE is meant for people who’d want to experience Apple’s wearable without having to spend too much.

Between these two, which of them is your GadgetMatch? Or are you struggling to choose one?

You can head over to our latest Apple Watch Series 6 vs Apple Watch SE Unboxing and Buyer’s Guide right here to find out more.

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