The week in Android: Google Duo video chat, the Note7, and T-Mobile’s unfriendly moves

Video chat got the most attention in the Android world this week (where I spend a lot of my time writing for Greenbot). That’s because we finally got to see Duo, Google’s promised FaceTime competitor that was one of many “coming soon” features showed off at Google I/O.

The reaction was mixed. Many felt it was half-baked since the app delivered on just one feature: making video calls. Audio calls is rumored to be coming, but the lack of a desktop component and the features you get with Skype left many people thinking there’s no reason to switch.

However, I see value in this approach. It solves a key problem for many: a solid, simple cross-platform solution that’s easy to use. With FaceTime, you’re out of luck if you have an iPhone and another has Android. And Skype is still hit-and-miss when it comes to performance.

A deeper connection to other Google services would be welcome, as well as voice-only calls.

Galaxy Note 7 Launch: Yes, I refuse to write “Note7” because that’s just weird. However, the phone is a hit, making this year’s Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, and Note 7 giving those who like Android an iPhone-type level of choice. They’re expensive, and some of the TouchWiz customization are still a step down from Nexus in the design department.

T-Mobile’s non-consumer friendly plans: So much for the “Uncarrier”. The new T-Mobile plans look like they’re better customized for pleasing investors than customers. You’ll save money if you have a large family and don’t care about things like tethering, where you’re limited to 2G. Yes, you can buy a one-month-at-a-time package, but wasn’t the whole premise of T-Mobile that you should be able to use all of your data the way you want in the first place? I took a deeper dive over at Greenbot.

This post is an experiment that comes from the fact that I write a lot of weekly news about the Android ecosystem. Have other ideas about what you’d like to see? Feel free to drop me a line.