editorial

It might be too late for a Nokia Android phone

It might be too late for a Nokia Android phone

The Nokia-branded Android smartphone we've demanded since before the company's ill-fated commitment to Windows Phone is finally coming, but it may be too little, too late. News today that Nokia will license its name for the next ten years to a new line of phones and tablets, only running Google's platform rather than Windows 10, seemed initially to be the perfect opener to Google I/O 2016, but it also raises one big question: does anybody still care about a Nokia device?

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Self-driving cars may need to be bad drivers to succeed

Self-driving cars may need to be bad drivers to succeed

A self-driving car getting pulled over by traffic police sounds like the subject of an xkcd comic, but Google's autonomous run-in with the law shows the robots have a lot to learn. Getting stopped for driving too slowly amid other traffic might only be the tip of the iceberg, in fact, and it's entirely possible that autonomous vehicles will need to learn to be worse on the road in order to fit in.

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The HTC One A9 borrows something bigger than style from Apple

The HTC One A9 borrows something bigger than style from Apple

Predictably, a fair amount of the conversation around the new HTC One A9 focused on its design similarities to the iPhone 6s. It's a fair point: HTC has plenty to say about how its new hero device is at the "convergence" of the Desire and One lines, but there's no denying that the result bears a strong resemblance to Cupertino's products.

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I want my next iPhone to have dimples

I want my next iPhone to have dimples

3D Touch on the iPhone 6s is, if you believe the early impressions, about as big a change to touchscreen phones as capacitive multitouch was eight years ago. Having tried it myself, earlier this month when Apple officially unveiled the 6s and its iPhone 6s Plus sibling, I certainly agree that it's an intriguing mixture of new and familiar: something you acclimatize to almost instantly, but the potential of which for shaking up interface design is vast. What intrigues me is how it could contribute to the evolution of one of the iPhone's most consistent design elements.

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The Gear S2 is great – now Samsung’s big IoT challenge begins

The Gear S2 is great – now Samsung’s big IoT challenge begins

Samsung is off to a great start with the Gear S2 smartwatch, with its great UX and broad Android compatibility, but its challenge is only just beginning. The circular-screen wearable is prompting broadly positive first-impressions - from ourselves included - with its discrete design and well-crafted interface, and Samsung has feathered it with a number of high profile apps out of the gate.

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Don’t knock Tesla for its eye-watering Model X price

Don’t knock Tesla for its eye-watering Model X price

Shock-horror: the Tesla Model X configurator is online, and Elon Musk's first electric SUV isn't going to be a cheap car. Cue gasps from the soccer moms, Valley trundlers, and EV enthusiasts expected to make up the Model X's initial audience, wowed by the $133,200 and upward price of the initial "Signature Edition".

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Amazon Prime Day delivers the worst of Black Friday

Amazon Prime Day delivers the worst of Black Friday

Perhaps we should've expected Amazon Prime Day to be a monstrous disappointment. When you model your huge, one-day-only sale on Black Friday, after all, you're probably going to experience the same instantly-evaporating deals and masses of unlovable clearance items. Sure enough, though there have been some impressive bargains to be had, there are more people vocally annoyed than crowing about their purchases.

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Amazon Echo’s weirdest talent is making you feel heard

Amazon Echo’s weirdest talent is making you feel heard

Amazon’s Echo is a lot of things - shopping companion, music player, portal to Wikipedia - but its most surprising feature says more about human comfort with next-gen electronics. Echo’s cleverness is in the cloud; the black column of its local hardware is really just a gateway to that remote functionality. Yet it also has to satisfy a few core requirements, such as demonstrating attentiveness. The solution Amazon came up with is both simple and elegant.

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As WWDC ends, the mood in the trenches is neighborly

As WWDC ends, the mood in the trenches is neighborly

Apple’s WWDC is over for another year, and as the dust settles on the iOS 9, Apple Music, and OS X El Capitan launch, it’s a chance to reflect on five days of sessions. It’s hard to gauge the tone of a week-long developer event from a fast-paced keynote - even with an Apple Music section which went on too long, and which several developers I spoke to suspected was padded to fill up space originally intended for an Apple TV SDK announcement. If there can be such a thing as an overarching theme, though, it felt like it might be harmonious co-existence.

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Microsoft needs a new tune to woo developers to Windows 10

Microsoft needs a new tune to woo developers to Windows 10

"Developers! Developers! Developers!" That chant might trigger nightmares of a rather sweaty Ballmer, but what was true almost a decade ago is now even more critical for Microsoft's success. Yes, success, not just survival. There is little doubt Microsoft could live on for a few more years on life support should Windows 10 flop, but if the next operating system is to become the success that Windows 8 was not, it needs to have more apps. Not just any app, clones or fakes, but the kind of apps that make iOS and Android users go nuts. And to get those apps, Microsoft will obviously need developers, developers, developers.

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I still trust autonomous cars more than I trust you

I still trust autonomous cars more than I trust you

I told my grandmother about Mercedes-Benz’s self-driving F 015 concept the other week, and she was horrified. “However could you trust it to drive you safely?” she wanted to know, perhaps thinking of how her DVR regularly and unpredictably dumps her favorite recordings and extrapolating that to a crazed silvery space-pod crashing and taking her grandson with it. In fact, I told her, I trust autonomous vehicles far more than I do my fellow human drivers, and recent news of self-driving car crashes in California has done nothing to change that.

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The big Apple Watch surprise is how little you use it

The big Apple Watch surprise is how little you use it

For all the furore around the Apple Watch launch, not to mention the number of people still waiting for their pre-orders, it’s a surprise just how low-key the smartwatch itself is. Of course, there’s the excitement of opening the box, strapping it to your wrist, and setting it up with your favorite apps and notifications, but after that the wearable works best if you simply... wear it.

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