The Best and Worst of Tech: Smartphones, Self-Driving Cars, More


Tech companies would like us to believe that their products tell a story about progress. Faster phones! Better cameras! Brighter screens! Yet despite all the improvements, there are pieces of tech that have been flawed for years.

Text messaging technology, which created what many call the “green vs. blue bubble” disparity, has made texting between Apple and Android phones a subpar experience for nearly as long as smartphones have existed. Newer inventions, such as self-driving cars and cryptocurrency, continue to put people in harm’s way.

To give credit where it’s due, there were some improvements last year that were big wins for consumers. We now have a common power cable

for charging our many gadgets. So-called foldable smartphones that open and close like a book now have consumer-friendly software. Companies also made strides in wireless phone service technology, which greatly simplified the process for people to switch phone plans and save lots of money.

With the start of a new year, let’s look ahead at the tech that needs improvement this year and reflect on the solutions we found in 2023.

“Who’s the green bubble?” Among smartphone users, this has become a common question inside group texts. When iPhone users send texts to other iPhones, the messages appear blue and can tap into exclusive perks like fun emojis and animations. But when texts are sent between iPhone users and Android users, the bubble turns green, many features break, and photos and videos deteriorate in quality.

We are having trouble retrieving the article content.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.

Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.

Thank you for your patience while we verify access.

Already a subscriber? Log in.

Want all of The Times? Subscribe.