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Droid Life Q&A Sessions: Volume 13 Answers

Q&A

Here are the Volume 13 answers from the Droid Life Q&A Sessions. On Monday, a good amount of you took to the comments section to get your questions answered, leaving us with lots of interesting inquiries, focusing primarily on Motorola, Nexus devices, and what the DL Crew finds themselves doing during the summer months. We love it when you get a little personal.

Down below, we go over why 2013 has been sort of a “slow news year” in terms of Android and devices, what we dislike about Android, if we could see a Google Play Video All Access service and a whole lot more. 

Reminder: K is Kellen, T is Tato and R is Ron.

This year has been the slowest that I can ever recall for Android in terms of new software and hardware. It seems like the pace of mobile innovation is slowing. Is it a sign of the technology maturing, a lack of competition or something else?

T:  Besides Samsung, I think OEMs are realizing that focusing on few products leads to better sales. If you spend more time and energy on a device, it shows and consumers naturally respond to that. The HTC One is a prime example of this change in a company. Stop trying to reach as many different buyers as you can and instead, focus on the entire market with one device. So far, I’d say it has worked pretty well for them. So that’s probably why we’re seeing fewer devices. — As an OS, it’s clear that Android has matured by leaps and bounds. As many ask us, where do you see it going from here? It’s hard to say since it already features so many great things, but that’s what is great about Google. They will surprise us, somehow.

R:  ​It’s a sign that OEMs can’t afford to keep throwing out a device every other month without making money. Samsung can afford to do it, but everyone else is slowing down. The other major factor is that most people now have smartphones and are stuck in two year contracts, so it doesn’t make sense for companies to pump out tons of phones. – In terms of software, I think that is definitely because Android has reached a more mature state. We’ve talked about that issue on the show before. Innovation is slowing because companies are running out of ideas. That’s why you’ll continue to see gimmicks advertised as new features; the smartphone as a concept is mature.

K: I think in 2010 and 2011, the industry had a new toy (Android) that they were trying to be the best with. It was like companies were trying to one-up each other each month with a new camera or 3D screen or dual-core processor. I’d say it all has matured, but that’s such an amazing thing. Phones from even a year ago were not awesome in the way that 2013 phones are. Think back to 2010 or 2011 and how many issues we all had? Most of those are all gone now.

Android Rainbow

What do you NOT like about Android?

T:  Well, when I get asked that by friends and family, the usual answer is Android’s overall “janky” feeling. At times, the lag and stuttering just gives off a janky vibe. That’s the best way to describe it. Jank. Project Butter definitely improved on the jank, but there is still some jank to fix. Let’s get this trending – “#GotJank”

R:  I don’t like that Android’s icons vary widely in size and shape. I don’t like that a lot of Android apps lack polish because developers have to support so many devices to make money. I don’t like that the physics of Android still lags behind the smoothness of iOS. I don’t like how stock Android handles battery life.

K: That even though we are 4 or 5 years into the game, I still have yet to find a perfect Android device. Out of all these manufacturers, none has created a phone I would consider to be perfect – they all have some issue that drives me nuts. Nexus 4 has a sub-par camera and no LTE, Samsung has that terrible physical home button, and the HTC One is too big and also has a terrible nav button setup. You’d have thought that by now someone would have done it just right, but nope.

With Google Play Music working now with a monthly fee, do you think Google TV/Movies will follow suit?

T:  OMG, that would be siiick. Although, with streaming comes huge licensing issues that would take time for Google to work out with the studios. As you might see, not all music in Google Play is available on All Access, due to licensing, so you would see an even more poor experience on an All Access Video service most likely. I mean, this is Google we’re talking about so anything is possible, but I don’t think we will see anything like that soon. And if they do work out some deal where we can stream their entire movie/TV library, then I would expect the monthly price to be quite high.

R:  Nope. The deals for that sort of thing would take months and probably wouldn’t be worth Google or the studios’ time. The movie/TV industry isn’t hurting like the music industry has been, so they have no incentive to move towards subscriptions.

K: Well, that would certainly be a great service, but I think the music and TV/Movies industries are so different that I’m not sure it’s possible. But then again, we do have Netflix and Amazon doing something along those lines, so it’s certainly possible. I just hope that if Google does it, it doesn’t suck like Netflix and Amazon.

new motorola logo

Do we still really think that there will be TWO Motorola devices (mid-range for summer, “hero” device for fall) and if so, will all carriers get the latter?

T:  Motorola will hopefully look to take the Samsung approach, hopefully releasing a hero device to each carrier. As their CEO said, we can expect to see multiple devices, so it could definitely be happening.

R:  Nothing is confirmed. (Tim’s note: Dude stole my saying!)

K: Moto CEO Dennis Woodside said they would release multiple phones from now until October, so yes, I do think we will see a hero device along with the mid-range XFON. I also think their goal is to get both on every single carrier they can. The only confusing thing, is how Motorola is going to go about fighting themselves for those new DROID Ultra phones that are headed to Verizon.

Who’s your favorite band?

T:  *Hipster answer* Well, they’re pretty underground, so you’ve probably never heard of them. *Real answer* My two favorite bands are Gojira from France and Ghost from Sweden.

R:  Right now it’s Citizens and Ghost Ship.

K: Ooh, tough one. I’m a hip hop guy, so I’d have to say favorite of all time is Gang Starr. For non-hip hop I’d have to say Ryan Adams (pre-sober days). But I’m listening to a lot of The Weeknd these days, plus Yeezus, the new J Cole, and even Miguel.

If you all lived on a deserted island for one full year, and you could only play ONE Android game, what game would that be and why?

T:  Well, naturally I would have NVIDIA’s SHIELD with me, so I would probably like to have Need for Speed: Most Wanted on it. Pretty awesome game.

R:  An updated version of Hex Defense.

K: Oh come on, you already know. I think I’ve beat Granny Smith on 15 different devices already – some twice, because I had to factory reset a phone for one reason or another.

What are your favorite summer activities?

T:  Besides lounging around and doing nothing, I like to get out and go for walks with the dogs, play some baseball/softball, eating bacon burgers. Word.

R:  Going to the beach/pool. Having a working air conditioner.

K: Beer festivals. You’ll also find me holding down the grill almost every weekend and finally getting to run outside, since it rains the other 9 months of the year here in Portland.

nexus 7 retail

What tablet (7, 8, or 10 inch) would you recommend that is on sale right now? Would it be advisable to wait to see if Google releases new Nexus tablets?

T:  I would wait for the refreshed Nexus 7. No doubt. It’s coming. Unconfirmed, but I just feel it.

R:  I would wait for the next Nexus tablet. I’ve seen a lot of people complaining about slowed down Nexus 7s, though, so maybe pay a little more for something from Samsung (if you can handle the beast known as TouchWiz).

K: I definitely wouldn’t buy a tablet right now because the new Nexus 7 is coming. It’s currently scheduled for a release around July 30th, with the original Nexus 7 potentially seeing a discount next week to move remaining inventory. Shh, you didn’t hear that from us. :)

What are your thoughts on the Samsung NX Camera?

T:  I think it’s really neat. I know some are turned off by the Android-powered stuff, due to the Android jank issue, but this camera’s hardware could actually outweigh Android’s issues. We don’t know pricing yet, but I am definitely excited to try one out once I get the opportunity.

R:  I don’t think people want Android on their camera, especially their really expensive camera. I don’t think this appeals to professionals and it certainly doesn’t appeal to regular consumers. I imagine it will do just about as well as the Galaxy Camera.

K: Cool concept, but I would have much rather seen them going with the smaller NX body style that you see on the NX1000 and NX2000. I’m also scared of the price, which could exceed $1000.

  • Silver Veloz
  • Nicholassss

    I really dig Q&A days.

  • CapnShiner

    Regarding the Samsung NX and Galaxy cameras, I think they are neat concepts but it’s just not necessary to have Android powering a camera. I think Android is more powerful and robust than is needed for a camera, especially considering the redundancy between that and smartphones with cameras. I think cameras are better off with a lighter-weight proprietary OS that is optimized for use in a camera. I do like the idea of cameras with wireless connectivity but I think that can be accomplished without Android. I might be interested in a camera that a Android phone optionally docks into, but I don’t think it would work because of how much diversity there is in Android hardware. I hate to say it, but that concept would probably work better for an iPhone. Overall, I think a camera should be a camera and a smartphone should be a smartphone. We don’t need to combine the two any more than we already have. As camera technology for smartphones improves, we could see smartphones completely replace compact point-and-shoot cameras. DSLRs, however, need to be left alone.

    • Fattie McDoogles

      I fall in the middle on this. I like the idea of Android on cameras for sharing and editing right from the camera. However I don’t think you should have the stock launcher and set up that you have on Android phones and tablets. It should be its own proprietary set up that feels more like a camera. Just Stock Android or Touchwiz on a camera feels more like a hindrance than a help.

  • jcorf

    Dude Ron, I’m digging Citizens & Ghost Ship as well.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      They’re so good!

  • EvanTheGamer

    Thanks guys! This is one of the many reasons why I’ll always be a Droid-Lifeian(? lol) and will continue to support/frequent Droid-Life!

    • michael arazan

      “Droid-Lifer”

      • EvanTheGamer

        Yeah, I like yours better. haha.

  • T_Dizzle

    I’m an android feign but I definitely agree with the jank issue. Yes I’m rooted and I’ve run many different ROMs.

  • Alan Paone

    That galaxy NX is pretty cool looking, I just don’t trust samsung to make lenses, then again, I’m a micro 4/3 guy, so I’m kinda spoiled.

  • Jroc869, Nexus-Life

    should a just asked Ron what he likes about android, it may have been a shorter answer lol

  • Blue Sun

    Great insight. Keep up the good work guys!

  • EMcTx

    I actually like the home button on the galaxy s4. For me, it’s easier and faster to turn the screen on than hitting the power button on the side. I really love this phone. The only lag I actually noticed was in the gallery. However, since I installed the camera software from the Google Edition, I now use that gallery, and have no more lag.

    • michael arazan

      I installed the Google edition camera on my Galaxy Nexus, and now I can’t access the camera, it says “Gallery has Stopped” every time I open the camera.

      • Greyhame

        Reboot into recovery. Clear caches (including dalvik).

  • Qwerty

    Love Ghost. Saw them on tour with Opeth and Mastodon in LA last year. One of the best shows I’ve seen. Have yet to see Gojira.

  • ahhh yes

    My favorite band is aws

    • justjmatt

      I see what you did there. :)

  • JasonWhite

    “R: I don’t like that Android’s icons vary widely in size and shape. ”

    That’s funny because that’s one of my FAVORITE things about Android. I’ve never enjoyed the rigid conformity every iOS icon must take. It always feels sterile. Just rows and rows of rounded boxes. I like how Android apps are unique and many aren’t even confined by any sort of boundary, but are instead free to float on my home screen commando style.

    • Raven

      I heartily agree with this. My personal belief is that all icons should have the same approximate size, but they should NOT have solid background and should have an easily recognizable silhouette. Most of the Google icons are like this from the shopping bag of the Play Store to the mail envelope of GMail to the headphones of Play Music. Every time I see another rounded square icon on Android I just think something like blek they were just lazy, learn how to use transparency.

      • JasonWhite

        Indeed!

      • Alan Paone

        Yeah this. I’m definitely a visual guy, so my heirarchy for finding icons definitely goes the shape then the colour then the icon itself then the brand. I take super long to find apps when I’m using an iphone and I look like a total idiot trying to use a windows phone.

    • Michael

      I think what he means is that even the apps put out by google their icons aren’t the same size. Example:
      http://cdn.androidpolice.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/nexusae0_icons_thumb.jpg

      • JasonWhite

        Hmmm. I can see that. Though I’ve never noticed it before I saw this comparison photo.

        Either way – I still don’t find it to be bothersome :)

      • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

        That’s exactly what I mean.

        • JasonWhite

          Sorry I misunderstood you, Ron!

          I hope we can still be friends. I’ll bring a Costco sized box of Goldfish and the newest Ghost Ship album on vinyl. One day they’ll make a movie montage out of how legendarily fun this weekend was.
          :)

          • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

            I have been, and always shall be, your friend.

          • JasonWhite

            Yeeeesssssssss!

            And a side note: I just checked out both of those bands. Really awesome stuff! I’m gunna get my sound guy to play some for our ambient pre-service music at church.

          • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

            They’re both awesome. We play a lot of their stuff for worship now. :)

          • JasonWhite

            Excellent!

    • Fattie McDoogles

      I think your right to an extent. I think that the different icon styles and designs are awesome. I wish they did have an imaginary box that they had to fit into so they were all the same relative size.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    Every one of these QnAs should have the question where the **** is the Verizon HTC one. Either way I knew Kellen was a hip hop guy. He hasn’t really hid it. Look at any video where been shows off a music app. I’m a hip hop guy too so I noticed

  • YourFriend

    Gang Starr, Kellen? I just grew more respect for you.

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      Well thanks. :P

      • sk3litor

        Guuuurrrrruuuuu!!!:)

        • Fattie McDoogles

          RIP

      • Ibrick

        RIP Premier..

        Yeezus I’m still tore on.. Can’t decide if it’s genius, or ‘ehh’.. I feel like I’m waiting for an interview 6 months from now where ‘Ye admits the whole album was a joke on the industry and he can’t believe people bought that sh*t..

        J. Cole, quality as always, but I expected more.. Pretty hard to follow Cole World and Warm Up though..

        • Fattie McDoogles

          Yeezus feels forced to me. It feels like he’s just trying to come off as an a$$hole. Loved the J. Cole. I think it was a great sophomore album. Wale’s The Gifted is my favorite album so far this year.

          • Ibrick

            Yeah, I mean I understand he was going for minimalist style, having Rubin pull things during final production, but it was absolutely rushed. Rubin said he thought the album was to be released next year when he heard the first draft, 5 weeks from release, worked 15hr days to pull it off, and 2hrs before Kanye had to catch a flight 5 tracks had no vocals..

            There’s still 8 tracks that got cut from the final, so maybe we’ll see some more polishing.

    • Joy E. Allen

      just as Evelyn responded I’m startled that you able to get paid $4654 in a few weeks on the computer. did you see this web link

      w­w­w.D­A­Y3­7.c­o­m

  • Alberto Martinez

    This has nothing to do with the article, but does anyone remember what the article that I believe Tim wrote about leaving contracts/big carriers behind and getting T-Mo ? I think it was an opinion piece but can’t remember what the article was titled so I can’t find it.

  • BRIM

    Well, I obviously don’t know these guys but I’m surprised Kellen was a “hip-hop” guy. I expected Tim to be into that genre.