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Winner and loser of the week: Google Maps' birthday and Samsung's molehill

androidpit Google maps
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I have the honor of presenting you again this week my winners and losers. I asked around with the girls and boys, as the decision was once again a challenge. There were numerous suggestions from which I selected my candidates. Here are my winners and losers of the week just gone.

Since there was some outrage last week when I titled Apple as a loser (and on a portal with "Android" in its name!), I want to make it clear in advance that these are snapshots. The losers are not to be presented here as "losers", but simply had a bad week, had to suffer losses or simply attracted negative attention. This brings us to a potential loser of the week. The Motorola Razr (2019) conjured a glimmer of hope on the horizon of the foldable world, however, the first devices have now been delivered in the USA and are causing divided opinions.

Thanks to Razr teardown video we got a glimpse into the inside of the flip phone, which is hardly repairable. Our community has already discussed whether a smartphone needs to be repairable at all in 2020 and have come to the conclusion that a $1,500 device must be in perfect condition for many years to make the purchase worthwhile. This longevity was disproved by the first tweets and videos this week.

The Motorola Razr squeaks like grandma's old hip joint and the smartphones displayed in stores have already been extremely affected by the folding of curious customers. The display is also not at all in the frame of some devices, but can be lifted off the body completely. Be that as it may: I won't go into the (current!) senselessness of foldable smartphones at this point, you probably already know my opinion on overpriced folding scrap. Let's leave Motorola alone with its folding problem. I would also not like to mention the BlackBerry shutdown at this point. Since the cult brand is already down and out, I don't want to unnecessarily follow up with the title "Loser of the week".

Loser of the week: Samsung, this is getting ridiculous

"Slow down" is actually an understatement. It's been the same game for years: long before the official presentation of the new Galaxy-S series, all information, complete spec sheets, press photos, all case colors, sizes, ports, cameras, and accessories have already been leaked. That's absolutely no fun at all and meanwhile, you can't take Samsung seriously anymore, because the thing with the leaks is probably a homemade problem for the South Koreans, too. It's not the first time that Samsung's website "accidentally" put the new top model online. And the fact that it is no longer even possible to keep the new protective cases under wraps clearly shows that Samsung not only employs a mole in its internal or external ranks, but that the field has now been completely dug up. It's clear that Samsung has lost track of who takes what, when, and where. But the fact that it is making mistakes like this and now has (potentially) leaked the Galaxy S20 by itself makes Samsung a loser for me this week.

Winner of the week: No, not Tesla again

Although the e-car manufacturer certainly deserves to be the winner of the week for the second time in a row - the company is now worth even more than BMW and VW combined - we want to celebrate the anniversary of an application that has become an integral part of our lives. Google Maps is 15 years old. This shocks me, because it means that I too am slowly (quickly!) getting old. Fifteen years ago, I was 15 years old. This means that Apple must have been in the middle of the development of the first iPhone, that no one could ever imagine BlackBerry dying, and that I began to print out navigation instructions for all family members from this Internet of Google Maps. What a time! Yes, children: we opened Google Maps on the computer in the browser, entered the start and destination manually and then printed the navigation information paper by paper. App? There wasn't one. And the navigation devices that you can clamp into the front window were not that affordable back then.

I remember it like it was yesterday, and the other day I found a printed Google Maps package in some box in the basement and was amused by it. And today, only 15 years later, Google Maps has become almost indispensable in our lives. How has the Google navigation service developed? Today we can walk through foreign cities with our smartphones and always reach our destination, always find a good restaurant and see the opening hours. Is that good? Yes and no - because the contact with people is getting lost more and more over the course of time, because you don't have to ask anybody for the way anymore. Today, Google Maps on smartphones has even reached the point where we can project live instructions into our environment using augmented reality and the smartphone's camera. Magic!

Google Maps 2020
15 years of Google Maps: this is what the new logo looks like on the occasion of the anniversary. / © Screenshot / AndroidPIT

From paper printout to AR navigation

We no longer just get from A to B thanks to Google Maps on a display; we bypass traffic jams, find the nearest or cheapest petrol station and can park our car at our destination. The flip side of Google Maps, however, is that we rely one hundred percent on a program instead of perceiving the environment itself. At least that's how I feel! I only got my driver's license in my early 20s and I know no other way than to drive everywhere with Google Maps. I never remember road signs or motorway exits and very kind people often tell me that my sense of orientation is similar to that of a cauliflower. And so, in the event of a worldwide Internet and GPS failure, I would probably first have to learn how to use the paper maps of the past. Stop - look and remember everything exactly - keep driving - miss the exit - get frustrated - stop again - traffic jam - get even more frustrated. It would be like this for me, maybe.

Google Maps brings real added value to my life, so I want to say: Happy birthday, Google Maps, you are my winner of the week.

Who were your winners and losers of the week? Let's discuss them in the comments.

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  • David Martrano Feb 8, 2020 Link to comment

    With all the leaks the excitement days are out the window. Plus when you base model is 1,ooo dollars why pre-order? In two months the price will definitely be reduced, yikes!