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Droid Life Q&A Sessions: Volume 7

This week is going to be insane. We have the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 going on sale tomorrow. Android 4.2 should be hitting AOSP at any moment, which means the first sets of ROMs could be here this week. The HTC DROID DNA will be unveiled in NYC tomorrow, an event we’ll be reporting from. Black Ops 2 is available at midnight…err. And we have a live Droid Life Show going down Wednesday night to talk about it all. After the snoozefest that was the Android news world last week, we are looking forward to some wild times.

So knowing that we’re about to be bombarded with awesome Android talk, let’s do a Q&A session. You probably have a bundle of questions ready to be fired off, so bring ’em to us. Do you want to know our final thoughts on buying the Nexus 4? Should the DNA be your next phone? Is Android 4.2 the most important thing to happen this week? Drop your questions in the comments and we’ll pick ten to be answered on Friday (and probably on Wednesday’s show too).

  • JetBlue

    I don’t know if this has been discussed by why doesn’t Android have a Notes app? I understand you can download an app like ColorNote and Evernote but I don’t get why Android doesn’t have one.

  • jab416171

    Thoughts on the Nexus Q, and how the Google TV updates seem to be slowly replacing its functionality. I feel like all that’s left is the shared music playlist thing, and the visualizer.

  • With the Nexus 4 lacking LTE support – How will this affect it’s scailability in the market given so many other high end phones available to consumers? It’s clear Google’s strategy is to sell phones to the masses but will the masses exchange LTE for no contract? I think not.

  • KSChris

    Is it worth committing to a new phone in the coming weeks (like say, between now and Thanksgiving) or is it best to wait another month or two to see what else may come out?

    I ask, because I’ve got an upgrade coming and really can’t decide between an S3 or Razr Maxx HD..

  • Tim

    Not to get into your personal life. But Iv always wondered if DL is any of your guys full time Job. Throughout the day DL is always up to date. So i was curious if DL is profitable enough for that.

  • lnimmer

    With my next upgrade not being until Sept of 2013, would it make sense to get the DNA to replace my GNEX? I would have to buy one from either Swappa or Ebay off contract… or should I wait it out?? 😛

  • Jigga_Z

    You probably get lots of tips from readers, some great and others not. What’s the most ridiculous or out-there “tip” you’ve ever gotten from someone?

  • dsass600

    Is it worth it to switch to buy the Nexus 4 and switch to a GSM carrier? Specifically, is the lack of LTE a problem. T-Mobile has 42 MBPS HSPA+ which is still blazing fast and doesn’t drain any battery.

  • Knlegend1

    Will Verizon ever get their act together or will they always be an outcast?

    • islandak

      VZW isn’t an anoutcast. They are the 800 lb gorilla. That’s why they do whatever they want. We can only vote with our wallets. And many are starting to.

  • Matthew Merrick

    what has a better camera – Xperia T/TL, One X/XL/X+, or Optimus G?

  • PetiePal

    With all the DNA & Nexus 4 hooplah it seems the Note 2 isn’t getting any more big press on VZW….why’s it taking so long to release…extra button logo printing, to allow the DNA sales? To give the SIII and iPhone 5 more of a lead??

    How does the DNA stack up against the Note 2?

  • Is the Nexus 4 not having LTE really that big of a deal? I know that some DL folks are pretty bent out of shape about it. As a Verizon LTE user of nearly a year in Cincinnati, I personally think LTE is a big disappointment. LTE devices have lousy battery life and I can never get a good LTE signal indoors unless I am right next to a tower. I am almost always on 3G unless I am out driving – and there are still plenty of LTE dead spots on major roads. The icing on the cake is that Verizon throttles LTE down so low that my friends on HSPA+ get comparable speeds with better coverage areas. Plus, Verizon’s 3G is garbage since they got the iPhone. Switching from 4G to 3G (which happens frequently) is a kiss of death to reliable music streaming. Who is actually getting the LTE bliss they expected???

  • Bharath

    This is not a Q&A question but it would be nice if some of the questions are dealt during the DL show.

  • I just posted this on the HTC update page in response to someone saying they saw a guy buying a Thunderbolt in Best Buy yesterday. I would love to hear input from any ATT, Verizon, Sprint, Tmo, Best Buy etc. employees about this-

    “Check out Verizon’s website, or walk into the store and look around. It’s amazing the phones being advertised and what people are buying. On the Veirzon website on Explore > Smartphones page, one of the first sections talks about ISIS, which is irrelevant. I understand it’s a business with money being important, but by selling people on old phones with high profit margins, and not properly educating consumers on what’s best and most current, seems like a great way to hurt business over time. Are Verizon employees basically used car salesmen? And I only mention Verizon because that’s what I have and am familiar with.” Thanks

  • Ryan

    What is your most important feature on a phone? Is it the manufacturer, OS, battery life, screen resolution, etc? Would you sacrifice that feature for another one? For instance, I sacrificed resolution for battery life on the Razr Maxx.

  • Jonathan

    Do you think as more versions of android and more phones running it, often with manufacturer skins, we will see update speeds for non-nexus phones get worse, or do you think that the manufacturers (like motorola seems to be) are trying to push updates more quickly? Or will google come up with some way to update android with or without manufacturer/carrier “approval?”


    Whats up with not being able to purchase Samsung Chromebook?? New Acer one out tomorrow (that i dont want to buy). I cant get any word from @googleplay and becoming frustrated with no answers…What does the best Android source have to say??


    (((BLACK OPS 2))).

    LETS PLAY!!!!

  • Will Stager

    What are your gamertags?;)

  • WAldenIV

    What are your thoughts on Win 8 phones now that Win 8 is out for PCs?

  • usmitcboy

    What will it take for manufactures such as HTC, LG, etc to catch up to take some more market share from the Samsung & Apple foothold? I think when the SGS3 came out with the exact same look on all carriers, that created a brand but how will other makers do the same thing without the carriers overpowering them?

    Also, how can manufactures bypass the carrier update testing like Apple does? We need updates faster!

  • khughesone

    I own a vzw galaxy nexus and am considering going prepaid nexus 4. I dont want to leave verizon but gotta have me a nexus. I dont want to leave vzw if they are getting the 4. Have you heard any rumblings for a vzw nexus 4? And do you think it is a bad idea to leave a gramdfathered vzw unlimited plan for just to have a new nexus?

    • JoshGroff

      If you have grandfathered unlimited and have LTE around you, don’t jump ship.

      I think at this point all hope for a VZW Nexus 4 is gone. (Google said something about CDMA carriers causing too many problems for them?) I’m pretty sure I read that on a Droid-Life post somewhere but I could be wrong.

    • I would stick with your GNex for a while.. Its a nexus, and a bad ass nexus at that, so it will have a dev following for a long time to come.. Or at least long enough to have the next best thing when it comes out later.. Plus unlimited LTE is worth keeping..

    • Benjamin Sicard

      It comes down to two factors for you. Value and coverage. Do your research to see what kind of coverage T-Mobile has in your area as opposed to the LTE that you already have, as well as how fast both of them are. LTE is not guaranteed to be faster than T-Mobile’s HSPA+. There’s no point into holding on to a grandfathered unlimited plan when you’d be leaving for an unlimited plan.
      On the value front, T-Mobile’s plans will cost you far less, sometimes up to half as much, for the same service that you would receive from Verizon. So just do your research. I don’t think it’s a bad idea at all since T-Mobile’s network is quite good in my area.

    • moelsen8

      if it makes you feel any better, i’m in the same boat. unlimited data (even though I only use 1-2 gigs at the most) and a small texting plan before they got rid of those wonderful things called options (otherwise my bill would be ~$15-$20 more expensive just from the unlimited texting option alone). if i leave and ever want to come back, my future minimum bill would be close to double, i’m sure.

      anyway, as soon as the Nexus 4 goes up on google play, i won’t be able to stop myself from buying it. already have tmo and straight talk sims lined up ready to test. really hoping tmo’s $30/month 100 minute plan works out. i’m already pretty surprised at how great GrooVe IP works. and if that doesn’t, at&t’s coverage in my area is fantastic, so straight talk would probably be pretty good. if prepaid just sucks overall, maybe i’ll just sell the Nexus 4, take a small loss, and hold onto my verizon account.

  • More of a suggestion than a question but you guys should do a tutorial on porting your number to Google voice. I can see a lot of people ditching Verizon for that prepaid $30 plan on tmobile

  • What new feature would you like to see added in the next set of custom roms? Im hoping to see some cool new features with the quick settings and 2 finger status bar swipe.

  • EC8CH

    Will you be getting a physical Google Wallet card?

  • Ravi Rao

    This was asked on one of the DL shows, but I’d like to follow up:

    Is there a Verizon phone worth using an upgrade on this holiday, losing unlimited data?
    Is there a phone coming out for another carrier worth dropping Verizon for?

    • To the first question, id say it depends on your usage. if you use a lot then obviously its gonna cost you wayyyyy more in the long haul. to the second id say the nexus 4 for me is that phone. ive been strongly considering it.

      Oh wait, this is DL Q&A not KT Q&A lol

  • Sam

    With miracast support incoming, do you see Google TV going away?

  • crumpitout

    I have a galaxy s3. I was wondering, is it an upgrade if I bought the nexus 4? I don’t care for 4g very much but its something I’ve been hesitating about

    • JoshGroff

      It’s really up to you, the S3 is more than fast enough for everyday needs, and the battery life will probably be similar. If stock android is your thing, and you want fast updates, go for the Nexus, otherwise, it’s really just a processor upgrade.

  • PhillipNorris

    Galaxy Note 2 or Droid DNA?

    • This was going to be my question as well. I’m currently on the GS3, but for all of us who have to have the latest and greatest,is the Note 2 or the DNA the phone to grab next on Big Red? Pros and cons of each? In my opinion price does play a factor in your recommendation as well.

      • JoshGroff

        S-Pen and that multi window thing vs S4 pro + 1080p screen.

        Pretty much the main selling points of both devices. HTC has a better build quality than Samsung, but if you don’t mind plastic, that’s not much of a selling point.

        • AlexKCMO

          Also Note 2 will have tons of development compared to the DNA. If you want a custom ROM experience, Note 2 by a long shot.

          • JoshGroff

            That too!

    • Trying to figure out this one as well. This is my reasoning- To justify a 5+ inch screen I would like to have other features like the S-Pen and note taking apps that will allow me to get greater value out of the phone. Without the extra features my galaxy nexus is the perfect size. Also, with the galaxy nexus currently, and the thunderbolt prior to this, I am sick of phones with bad battery life. The DNA battery tests will be interesting, but remember, HTC pushed out the Thunderbolt to be the first LTE phone and look what happened.

      • PhillipNorris

        I still own a TBolt so yes I understand about horrible battery life. Although with the Liquid ICS it is a lot better.

    • Dawdroid

      Please do a battery life comparison between the Note II and Droid DNA.

  • TheDrunkenClam

    I have family members on my Verizon plan. My contract is about up. If I wanted to jump ship can I, or do I have to wait til their contracts are up too?

    • JoshGroff

      You can split when your contract ends.

  • Mark Lewis

    Why doesn’t the Droid Life site have a mobile theme?

    • It does. Scroll to the bottom of the page. 😛

      • Stewie

        K you really need to allow the ability to just bring up the ads, er I mean site in mobile to begin with, for those who would like it.

      • ohshaith55

        in that case, why doesn’t it automatically go to mobile? you have to wait for the full site to load all the way then go to the bottom and switch to mobile and wait for that to load.

      • Mark Lewis

        Oh, right. Then I echo ohshaith55’s question: why isn’t it the default theme on a mobile browser?

  • KT

    Do you think Verizon will take away the unlimited data from those grandfathered users who aren’t on contract anytime soon?

    • Buckoman

      If they do try, threaten to go to another carrier. That should keep your unlimited data.

      • Threatening never works these days… 🙁

        • John

          Yep, they really don’t give two s hits

          • michael arazan

            Buyers need to be organized and form an alliance, with all the social networking out there I’m surprised there isn’t a Buyers Alliance for the average consumer that can boycott or push back a company and get media to listen when they act. For when people get fed up with the shenanagans that corporations try to pull on the consumers.

        • Buckoman

          It did for me.

    • KT

      I’m concerned b/c I’m going to get the Note 2 when it comes out. I don’t want to pay the full retail price and then have my unlimited taken away from me.

  • A year or so ago, Motorola said they were basically going to calm down and pump out only one or two solid phones per year. I think some other manufacturers fell in line with that. With all the phones released in the last/next two months, do you think things will be idle until this time next year now? In other words, is it finally safe to pull the trigger on a new phone?

  • jofficus44

    I am on VZW, and am up for upgrade (along with Best Buy buyback and Phone Freedom credit) this December (FYI, we are on a shared data plan, so no concerns of losing unlimited data).

    Based on buyback trade-in percentages, it makes most sense for me to upgrade before the end of 2012, as I could likely get $300 or more in credits towards a new device then. My question is:

    If you HAD to get a new device on VZW this December (as I do), what would it be? Note 2? DNA? Stick with the SGS3, since it will likely be cheaper by Xmas?

    • If you like having a big phone then I would say nothing will beat the note II. It is an upgrade in a few different ways over the SGS3. I am in the same boat, but am very weary of the DNA. Not a huge battery, brand new screen technology, lots of unknowns. HTC’s reputation isn’t great, especially on Verizon. If it wasn’t for the screen, it wouldn’t have much draw, and I have learned not to be an early adopter from the Thunderbolt. If you read the reviews of the Note II, they are overwhelmingly positive with the only real negative is the size, which I believe is completely a user decision and has no impact on a review. Go test it out, and if don’t want something that big, you may want to wait until Q1

  • bobbymay1

    I know a lot of you said you don’t use custom roms anymore, but with Android 4.2 do you think custom roms are on there way out? I know that I plan on running stock 4.2 on my GNex when its available, just because I don’t need the AOKP customizations anymore.

    • RW-1

      I’ll answer that….

      Let’s say that I wish to run “Stock”, or run stock with a couple of customization’s such as having the ability to reboot, or boot to recovery. Even so, let’s just say “Stock” …
      As google refines the code further, or makes small bug fixes, would you like those at that time, or to wait until VZ decides you can have them?
      A custom, “stock” AOSP ROM is just that ticket – it would be like if didn’t wait for a windows service pack, but were able to implement updates and bugfixes when they happen.
      In addition, you can install new release freebies in some cases before the new version hits if you want. I have photosphere and the new camera, the only thing that will make me want 4.2 is the stuff you can’t grab as a n app – code changes, the new 2nd notification bar, etc….

  • What’s your opinion on big players like Samsung & HTC not using on-screen buttons and ruining a consistent experience? It’s been a year since on-screen buttons were introduced.

    • r0lct

      I think part of the problem is how much of a heads up Google gave the OEMs. If these phones are in the pipeline for a year+ and phones only this year shipping with ICS that we’ll see the transition next hope. At least that’s what I’m hoping on the flagship phones.

  • James Jun

    Despite all the new fangled things in Android 4.2, what is one thing (whether of be an app redesign, a new feature or etc) that hasn’t been addressed that you would like to have seen?

  • TheWenger

    Given that the Nexus 4 won’t really be very usable in th US at all, how popular do you think it will be? Are people going to even know that it exists? Do you think Google is going to bother advertising it in the US?

    • Good question. I have been spreading the word about the Nexus 4 (and prepaid service) like crazy, but I’m not sure how well it will catch on in the US.

      • Mark F

        @jordan Hotmann what prepaid service will you be using ?

        • The t-mobile $30 a month plan, “unlimited” (5GB un-throttled) data, 100 min of talk, unlimited texts.

      • TheDrunkenClam

        What kind of prepaid services are available? How does their coverage and speeds compare to Verizon?

        • T-mobile has their own, as well as several that use tmobile’s network. Where I live (colorado) tmobile has really fast hspa+ and great coverage. also when traveling through Texas to go the Big Android BBQ, tmobile had much better coverage inbetween cities than at&t.

          I have heard from others though that in some areas tmobile and att have terrible coverage compared to verizon, so your experience may vary based on where you live.


          • La2da

            Dallas. Denver. Anaheim…Anaheim… Anaheim.

    • feztheforeigner

      Well…it’s completely sold out in 50 minutes so I would say surprisingly well!

  • Mark F

    Why is Verizon not getting a variant of the Nexus 4 (like sprint and At&t with the optimus g ) ?

    • JetBlue

      LG Blaze is what Verizon is supposed to be getting only rumors right now.

  • What’s the word on the street for what time the Nexus 4 becomes available on the US play store?

    • Tomorrow. Nov 13

    • ragnarok180

      I believe it becomes available tomorrow… The 13th…

      • Indeed, I’m just trying to find out what time. ie. midnight EST, midnight PST, 8am EST, etc….

    • Futbolrunner

      The question was answered in this article.

    • It’s definitely tomorrow, we just don’t kno what time. German Googlers are telling people in the morning, but I’m sure plenty of us will be online tonight at midnight refreshing. 🙂

      • Justin W

        I’ll be one of those midnighters… Now the question is which midnight? EST, CST, etc.

  • Mack

    Even with it’s shortcomings and the fact that it’s a year old, would you still recommend the Galaxy Nexus, on or off contract, seeing as the Nexus 4 will not run on Verizon?

    • 4n1m4L

      The 16gb versions are actually worth a shot. They won’t be from the pool of half assed returns that the 32 GB versions will be. Or buy a new 32gig version from eBay. The are still wonderful phones. And still updated by Google. I still rock mine and it still looks new without a case. I just replace the back shell when it gets scuffed up. Like 14 dollars on eBay if I drop it. I make it a point to use mine with the power button facing down so burn in isn’t an issue.( buttons show in opposite side) the HDMI docks are still easy to find. Videos rented from the play store look great on the big screen. Battery life leaves some to be desired, but if you get the stand alone charger and a spare its a non issue

      • Mack

        Just pulled the trigger on a brand new 32GB from ebay to replace my Droid X2. I don’t plan on keeping the phone for more than a year but I’m looking forward to it.

        • 4n1m4L

          I did the same. X2 to gnex. The screen improvement still gets me. Managed to snag a pogo dock, but now there are DIY ways or whatever. The car dock definatley works too, just whittle a little like Kellex said.

    • JoshGroff

      I find it hard to recommend with this next wave of super phones, but if you want a cheap on/off contract phone, it’s pretty hard to beat at its price range.