This has been an interesting year in the mobile tech space. AMD launched its first truly competitive desktop processors in years, and recently the company introduced its first Ryzen Mobile chips, although there aren’t many laptops powered by them just yet. Next year things could get even more interesting as we start to see Windows 10 PCs with Qualcomm Snapdragon processors.
But some of Liliputing’s most popular articles of the year weren’t about Big News items like that. They were about… smaller things. That’s hardly surprising. Our primary focus is on Lilliputian computers, after all.
As the year draws to a close, I took a look at our traffic stats and rounded up some of the most viewed articles of the year. So let’s take a trip down memory lane.
With prices starting at $50 (or less during sales that run a few times a year), the Amazon Fire tablets offer a lot of bang for the buck. But the Amazon Appstore has a limited selection of apps. The good news is it’s often easy to install the Google Play Store. You don’t even need root access on the latest Fire and Fire HD tablets.
Kodi turns just about any PC and into a media center. But while there are plugins for a lot of third-party apps and services, Netflix doesn’t officially offer one. Unofficially though…
Have a smartphone, tablet, or other Android device that doesn’t have the Play Store installed, and don’t want to go through the trouble of figuring out whether you can install it (see above) on your own? No problem. There are a bunch of great places to find Android apps that aren’t the Play Store. Some even have apps that aren’t in Google’s store. Proceed with caution though, since there’s often a potential security risk involved in installing apps from unknown sources.
This rant was written shortly before Google did start offering its first Project Fi phone that wasn’t a Nexus or Pixel device. The gist is that now that Google has discontinued the Nexus program and the company’s Pixel phones are all premium devices, there was a serious need for a mid-range option. Now we have it, in the form of the Moto X4… although if you can find a 1st-gen Pixel on sale, that might still be a better option for a similar price.
Now that smartphones are everywhere there’s not as much demand for iPod touch style devices that offer all the capabilities of a smartphone except the cellular and voice capabilities anymore. But as I discovered this spring, if you do need a versatile mobile device and you don’t need voice or cellular support your best option might just be to find a dirt cheap phone and then never activate it.
Instead of running Android apps in an emulator, as most Android-on-PC utilities do, Anbox allows Android apps to run natively.
This was the first of two handheld, laptop-style computers to be announced this year, and the first to ship. It comes from the same company responsible for last year’s GPD Win handheld gaming PC, and it shows that there’s still at least *some* demand for devices we would have called UMPCs (Ultra Mobile PCs) a decade ago.
This tiny single board computer looks like a Raspberry Pi but it has a Rockchip RK3288 quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and supports 4K video, features Gigabit Ethernet, and 192kHz/24-bit audio.
This was the second such handheld PC to be unveiled this year. It’s not available yet, but the little device is expected to ship with support for Android and Linux and its claim to fame is a keyboard system designed by the same person that designed the popular (in niche circles) Psion Series 5 keyboard.
Speaking of the GPD Win, there’s a new model on the way. This was the first article we published providing an idea of what it will look like. Since then we’ve gotten a whole bunch of additional details about the specs, design, and price. It should go up for pre-order on Indiegogo in January for $599 and ship in April.
Before AMD’s first Ryzen chips hit the streets, reports of early benchmarks suggested that after years of playing second fiddle to Intel and competing more on price than performance, AMD was about to launch new chips that were within striking distance of their Intel counterparts in terms of performance. Those reports later turned out to be correct.