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Google Stadia is about to become Android bloatware

Google Stadia will reportedly come pre-installed on a high-profile new gaming phone, but the news may be unwelcome to serious gamers.

Asus has announced that the next ROG Phone will come with the Google Stadia cloud gaming app pre-installed. However it’s unclear that Stadia’s current popularity really merits it being pre-installed, so it may well just end up as yet more bloatware that is of little use to the majority of users.

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Asus’ newly-announced partnership with Stadia will last until 2021, and covers devices released in the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

In our review of Google Stadia we awarded the system 3.5 stars out of 5, recognising that it has great potential especially thanks to its cross-device appeal, but also noting that quality is unreliable, it’s inaccessible offline, and there were several features missing on day-one release.

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Ultimately, it still has a long way to go to rival the likes of PlayStation and Xbox, and we’re not even sure that serious mobile gamers will adopt the platform in sufficient numbers.

The last dedicated gaming phone from Asus was the Asus ROG Phone 2, which earned an impressive 4.5 stars out of 5 in our review. We reserved particular praise for its excellent screen, enduring battery life and powerful performance – all of these being must-have features for any self-professed gaming phone.

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Despite this impressive performance, our top choice gaming phone is actually the Black Shark 2, primarily thanks to its much lower price even though the specs match many other top-end gaming phones.

We also liked the physical gaming controller, which made the mobile gaming experience more like playing a Nintendo Switch. However you can’t yet get Google Stadia on this device, as the system is limited to just a short list of smartphones.