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"Tell the chef, the beer is on me."
Richard Yu blames supply chain issues for slower memory in some P10s, and static electricity for smudgy screens.
Storage speed in phones often isn't heavily promoted, even in flagship handsets, but it's something which can affect how fast a device feels. As Engadget's Richard Lai reports, some Chinese Huawei P10 owners noticed slower flash memory performance in their devices — speeds in line with the older eMMC 5.1 spec, not the newer UFS 2.0/2.1. Unlucky devices with eMMC 5.1 chips would score significantly lower in storage benchmarks. In one test, P10s with the slower memory managed less than half the throughput seen by models with faster chips.
Huawei CBG (Consumer Business Group) CEO Richard Yu reached out on social network Weibo to address the issue, while also commenting on our biggest gripe with the P10, its lack of oleophobic coating on the display.
On memory speeds, Yu blamed a "serious shortage" of faster UFS 2.0 and 2.1 chips in the supply chain, which apparently led to Huawei having to fall back on slower, but more readily available eMMC 5.1 memory in some units. Now, it's true that Huawei never included UFS on the P10's spec sheet. However, customers could be forgiven for assuming the P10's specs would line up with the Mate 9, a phone which shares the same Kirin 960 platform and was promoted as using speedy UFS 2.1 storage.
Yu insists that real-world performance isn't impacted by the use of slower memory in some P10s, saying "a good real-life performance and experience" is maintained thanks to Huawei's hardware and software optimizations.
Newer P10 batches will include an oleophobic coating, says Richard Yu.
As for why the P10 doesn't have an oleophobic coating on the display — the smudge-resistant layer used in all other flagship phones to deter the buildup of smudges and grease — well, apparently a combination of Gorilla Glass 5 and static electricity is to blame. According to the Engadget report, Yu said that the touch panel in the phone's Gorilla Glass 5 display had problems with the original oleophobic coating technique, where static buildup would interfere with the touch sensor.
That would explain why Huawei-built contemporaries like the Honor 8 Pro, which uses Gorilla Glass 3, still manage to include the coating. (In any case, we'd still argue that simply using different glass would've been a more acceptable compromise.)
Yu says that newer batches of P10 phones include the coating — made possible by a new coating technique that doesn't lead to static buildup — and that customers in China could visit their local Huawei store to have the treatment applied to their device. It's not clear what help that'll be to anyone who's bought a P10 outside of Huawei's home market, though.
Don't hold out for a MIUI build based on pure Android.
With over 200 million users, Xiaomi's MIUI is one of the most popular manufacturer skins in the world. Its usage has skyrocketed in recent years as Xiaomi made its foray into the Indian market, where the company has set up an R&D unit to cater to localization needs.
MIUI has come a long way in the last three years, adding a host of new features that augment the core experience. Xiaomi's frenetic pace of development — with a new update rolling out bi-weekly — means that MIUI is always evolving, even if updates don't include any user-facing changes. As a consequence, the user interface has become bloated, and the sheer number of features means that Xiaomi isn't as agile as it used to be when it comes to delivering platform updates.<!--break-->
Making sure its UI works on a new version of Android and ensuring compatibility with all the models in its portfolio takes significant engineering resources. Six months after the introduction of Android 7.0 Nougat, the Mi 5 is the only phone to have picked up the update. Then there's the way MIUI looks. Although we've seen the addition of several new features in MIUI, the core user interface itself hasn't changed all that much over the years. For instance, the multitasking pane still looks like something designed for the KitKat era.
That said, Xiaomi does a great job of delivering the latest MIUI updates to a majority of its phones. MIUI 8 is the latest iteration of Xiaomi's skin, offering an interface with a few visual tweaks, an abundance of solid colors, and a ton of new features. Xiaomi rolled out the update to devices as far back as the Mi 2, which made its debut in 2012.
With so many features baked into MIUI, Xiaomi isn't quick at platform updates anymore.
In this regard, Xiaomi is like Apple. Although its devices aren't on the latest version of Android, with its UI offering its own security-focused features, Xiaomi's priority is to deliver MIUI updates to its range of devices in a timely manner.
My 2014 Mi Pad is still on Android 4.4.4 KitKat, but it has picked up the MIUI 8 update late last year, giving me access to all the new features that Xiaomi has to offer. The three-year old tablet has the same functionality as the more recent Mi 5, which is now running Nougat. There's a reason MIUI updates work this way, and it has to do with Xiaomi's home market.
MIUI is used globally, but Xiaomi's main market is China, and as such the user interface is designed with Chinese users in mind. The customizations and added security features — the ability to block individual apps from running in the background, preventing apps from automatically starting at boot — are all borne out of a market where malware is rampant and apps are distributed not through a unified storefront like the Play Store but through multiple app stores.
MIUI is designed for China, a country where malware is rampant.
With no single entity like Google acting as a gatekeeper to weed out malware and other malicious content, the onus is on handset makers like Xiaomi to build in safeguards to ensure that their customers don't fall prey to such apps.
That'll continue to be the case for some time now, and while I'd love to see MIUI's features available on a pure Android interface, that isn't a priority for Xiaomi. Its goal is to ensure that its users aren't falling victim to unruly apps, and in that context, MIUI is doing a great job.
Pairing your new Gear VR controller will only take a minute, and it's a breeze.
The day has finally come, when you can purchase a new Gear VR controller to use for your adventures in VR. That of course means that you need to know how to pair this awesome new accessory with your Gear VR headset. Have no fear, we've got the details for you here!
The smaller U.S.-based network is the last major carrier to send out the update.
Good news for Galaxy S7 and S7 edge users on US Cellular: the phones are finally getting the update to Android 7.0 Nougat, as noted by SamMobile. This is weeks after the U.S.'s four of the major carriers had already seeded the update.
The US Cellular variants of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge are receiving an update with a file size of about a gigabyte and a half. The update brings with it a new user interface, better notifications, a blue light filter, and a plethora of other goodies enjoyed by other Galaxy S7 users on Nougat.
Too eager to wait for the update to hit your phone? Grab the download at US Cellular's site.
An injection of over 1,000,000 Android apps does a great job filling in the holes in Chrome.
Updated April 2017: This post was updated to make sure it's full of awesome apps for your Chromebook.
A few Chromebooks already have Android apps through Google Play. More are scheduled to get them, and most new Chromebooks will ship with the Play store working from day one. Android app support has also been announced for several Chromeboxes and the Chromebit. It's a slow process, but it is happening.
Android apps will change how you use your Chromebook. They have already changed things like how much storage is enough or how useful a touchscreen is on a small laptop. They fill a void that many people needed to be filled before they would purchase a Chromebook because they needed support for a particular app or just wanted a bigger selection. Android apps also help when developers who have a Chrome app aren't offering all the features with it and the Android app has them. They'll also expose more people to Chrome OS which will make native Chrome apps even better because developers will need to pay more attention to it. Android apps on Chrome are good no matter how you look at it.
Of course, some apps fill that void better than others. Here is the best of the best when it comes to Android apps for your Chromebook.
You might not use Slack, but you probably should. It's a cross-platform service where you can chat with friends or co-workers with necessary features like private chats (including private group chats) and voice/video calls. You can even program bots for your channel(s). We use it here at Mobile Nations as our primary way to communicate.
And the Android version of the Slack App is great! It's far better than the native Chrome offering and runs flawlessly in its own resizable window on your desktop. It's also integrated perfectly and notifications come in the same way all your Chrome notifications do. Slack is the first icon I click when I open the lid on my Chromebook.
Quik is a great lightweight video editor built for Android phones and tablets. It's not a replacement for Final Cut Pro X or Sony Vegas or any other professional-level video editing environment nor does it pretend to be. But it is a really easy way to build a very nice video from a bunch of short (or long) clips.
Quik is from GoPro and works great with GoPro footage through the Android app or from the GoPro Plus service. But it can also pull videos from your gallery or Google Photos or Facebook until you hit the 75 clip limit. The editor has automated tools for things like smart cuts and highlights, but you can also do everything by hand. It's free, so why not check it out?
There are ways to manage your podcast feeds via the web or through Chrome, but none of them are half as good as Pocketcasts.
Pocketcasts is one of the best ways to download and listen to the latest episodes from all of your podcasts on Android, and it works the same way on your Chromebook. You can let your list play in the background while you're doing anything else, and a click in the notification tray brings up media controls if you need to skip ahead or backward. It's also a good bit cheaper than the web version, though it's worth just as much.
Now that you can use the Unclouded app for Android you have a way to access all your stuff in the cloud.
Chromebooks work really well with Google Drive. With a fast connection, it's just like working in an office where folders are on a central server but integrated into your files, too. If you use Google Drive for all your stuff you're set. But most of us use other services, too. Unclouded will put Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Box and Mega into its file explorer and you can open, download, upload and whatever just like you were working on a PC with an app from the company.
Just be careful you don't download everything if you have a Chromebook with limited storage.
You can't install another browser built to run on Chrome OS, but you can install one built to run on Android.
You can sync with other devices running Firefox, have the same privacy settings that you have on any other version of Firefox, and can use the same extensions across every installation. You can run the Android version of Firefox full-screen and set things to always serve the desktop page instead of mobile.
Chrome is a great browser. But it's not the only great browser.
Microsoft may be struggling in mobile, but they rule the roost when it comes to the basic productivity tools we call an office suite.
Google Docs works great for most people. But Microsoft's offerings for Android do, too. You can install Word, Powerpoint, and Excel for Android on your Chromebook and get the same app you would have on a full-sized Android tablet. Which means they are pretty darn good. In fact, it's better using them on your Chromebook because you have a keyboard every time you open them. They still backup your documents to the cloud so your files are available from anywhere, and they're hundreds of dollars less than the versions for Windows or Mac — free.
Almost every app in Google Play will run on a Chromebook that has the Play store enabled. Be sure to tell everyone what apps you're using on your Chromebook that fill your app gap so we all can check them out!
"Tell the chef, the beer is on me."
"Basically the price of a night on the town!"
"I'd love to help kickstart continued development! And 0 EUR/month really does make fiscal sense too... maybe I'll even get a shirt?" (there will be limited edition shirts for two and other goodies for each supporter as soon as we sold the 200)