The Motorola Razr Might be Making a Comeback…As a $1500 Foldable

Wikipedia

Man, you guys remember the Motorola Razr? Thing was hot back in the day—all the cool kids had them. Well, good news: it may be coming back as a modern smartphone. Again.

According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, Lenovo (which bought Motorola from Google back in 2014) is planning to partner with Verizon to re-release a phone with the beloved Razr namesake. The downside? It’s going to be a $1500 foldable. Fifteen. Hundred. Dollars. Oof.

Of course, this isn’t the first time the Razr brand has seen a reboot—if you were an Android user back in the day when the Droid branding was Verizon’s hotness, you might remember the Droid Razr. It was a svelte (for the time) handset that did its best to stay true to the Razr brand. It was a cool phone back then.

But anyway, that’s enough of a history lesson—let’s talk about this wild-ass thing Lenovo and Verizon have cooking. Apparently, it could release as early as February (like, next month), though it looks like they’re only going to make about 200,000 units to start. Makes sense, because not many people are going to shell out $1500 for a smartphone in the first place, much less one that’s based purely on nostalgia.

Otherwise, the remaining details—like the hardware—are scant. So right now we know it’ll be pricey, foldable, and niche as hell. I can’t wait to see it.

via The Wall Street Journal

CTL Announces $300 Rugged Chromebook Tablet for the Education Market

The Chromebook Tablet (seriously though, why can’t get rid of the “book” in that title?) education revolution is here. Acer started it, ASUS got in on it, and now CTL is getting in the game. Here’s the skinny.

You’d be forgiven if your first thought was “…who is CTL?,” because honestly, they’re not as well known as some of the other companies that are active in the Chrome OS market. Still, they make some fantastic Chromebooks and Chromeboxes (see, we don’t say “Chromebook Desktop,” so why aren’t they called Chrometabs?) designed to be more robust than the average Chrome OS device.

Today’s announcement of the Chromebook Tab Tx1 is what anyone familiar with CTL has come to expect—a ruggedized tablet with specs on part with the competition. It’s packing a Rockchip OP1 hexacore processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a microSD slot for storage expansion, a headphone jack (a rarity these days), and the appropriate wireless connections. Like the other Chromebook Tablets (ugh) that have been announced so far, it comes with an integrated stylus that garages into the device when not in use.

The Chromebook Tab Tx1 will be available “towards the end of” February 2019 in the US and Europe, but you can pre-order the device now if you’d like.

Shocker: The Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Is Faster Than the 845

The first benchmark tests are out for the upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip, and unsurprisingly it’s faster than last year’s 845. At least this gives us some insight into what to expect in the 2019 Android flagship phones.

Of course, we have to give the obligatory benchmarks aren’t indicators of real-world performance talk here, because, well, benchmarks aren’t indicators of real-world performance. They’re a simple way to quantify and compare chipset performance by raw numbers and shouldn’t be used as anything more than that.

All that said, the results for the 855 look pretty good, especially compared to the 845, which is the current chip in the bulk of high-end Android phones out today. In fact, Qualcomm is claiming it’s a 40 percent performance increase. That’s a pretty significant number, especially when you consider how powerful these modern mobile chipsets already are.

Android Police recently spent some time running the 855 through its paces, comparing it to a slew of modern devices like the Pixel 3, OnePlus 6T, Galaxy Note 9, and more. If you’re interested in their findings and how the 855 compares to the 845, I highly recommend giving that post a read.

But really, the long and sort of it is that the 855 is, unsurprisingly, better than the 845. It’s going to be a good year for Android flagships.

via Android Police

You Can Now Tell Pandora What You Want to Listen To

Telling your phone what to do is quickly becoming way cooler than, you know, touching it, and Pandora is on it. The company just announced Voice Mode, which will let you tell it what to play. It’s cool.

This new mode will be available on both Android and iOS and will be accessible with the phrase “Hey Pandora” with the app open. You’ll be able to change stations, as well as adjust the volume and play/pause content. You can also use it for specific requests, like “play music for relaxing,” which is a pretty nice touch.

Beyond that, Voice Mode will support giving songs a thumbs up with your voice by saying “I like this,” skipping songs with “play something different,” adding tracks to playlists with “add this to my <whatever> playlist,” and a lot more. Here’s the full list from Pandora’s press release:

Types of requests include:

  • Control requests to change stations, control volume, skip or pause music, and other basic navigation commands.
  • Thematic requests delivering personalized music based on each user’s unique tastes, moods, and favorite activities like “play something for my workout” or “play music for relaxing.”
  • Open-ended requests like “play something different,” “play something I like” or “play more like this.”
  • Basic requests for a specific artist, song, station, podcast or playlist like “play new music by…” or “play my happy jams playlist.”
  • Interactive requests like “what song is this?” or directional requests like “add this song to my party playlist” or “I like this” to give a thumbs-up.

While some of these features are clearly only for users who subscribe to one of Pandora’s paid tiers, it seems that all users—both those who subscribe to Pandora or simply use the ad-based tier—will get access to Voice Mode in the coming weeks.

via Pandora

Netflix Is Raising Its Prices Again

We all knew it was bound to happen sooner or later, but for the first time since 2017, Netflix is bumping the cost of all its plans. The price increase will raise prices by 13-18%.

The current base plan, which is $8, will jump to $9. The $11 middle-tier will be $13, while the high-end $14 plan will move to $16. Again, this should come as a surprise to no one—as the company produces more original content, it’s spending more and more money. At least the majority of its original content is really good. Maybe they can use some of this money to negotiate the return of Daredevil (can’t knock a guy for wishful thinking, right?).

The price increase will take place immediately for new customers, though existing users will see the change sometime over the next three months. It’s unclear what will happen with customers who are on some sort of promotional pricing, like the cheaper rates for T-Mobile customers, but it’s unlikely they’ll see any sort of price increase.

via CNBC