The Google Experience [Opinion]

With the release of the Nexus 7, Google set its sights on Amazon to try and reclaim control of the Android tablet space. Ever since Amazon forked Android for the Kindle Fire there has been some confusion about what OEM software customization means. There seems to be some confusion in the industry about what TouchWiz and Sense really are. More and more often I have seen articles arguing that the Galaxy S III and the Kindle Fire offer the same non-Google experience. Even more shocking, I’ve heard arguments that AOSP is Android and the Nexus line of phones offers the “Google experience.” The question isn’t whether or not OEMs offer a Google experience (they do); the question is if they’ll keep a Google experience.

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Review: Firefox for Android

Choice in browsers has been an integral part in the history of computing. Mozilla has been at the heart of the push for choice in browsers from its inception out of Netscape to the introduction of Firefox in 2004. Since 2004, Mozilla has been dedicated to giving users a choice in browsers not only on the desktop, but on mobile.

The latest version of Firefox for Android, available in Google Play today, comes in the midst of heavy competition in browsers for Android with Dolphin HD, Opera Mobile, Opera Mini, and Firefox each having been downloaded more than ten million times. Perhaps even more dauntingly, Google is in the process of making Chrome the default browser in Android. Chrome made headlines in the last six weeks as it surpassed Internet Explorer to become the most used browser internationally on desktops. Mozilla is keenly aware that by developing Firefox for Android they are competing with Google in a way that is much less obvious on the desktop.

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A Little Less Online [Opinion]

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In late May Paul Miller of The Verge detailed his visit to a rally put on by various groups of Orthodox Jews about the dangers of the Internet. The article itself is a good read, but the video of the event is incredible. In the video Paul talks with a number of Orthodox Jews about their views on the Internet, but one man in particular, Eytan Kobre, an editor for Mishpacha Jewish Family Weekly, had some particularly fascinating things to say about how the Internet should be viewed.

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Google is Regaining Control of Android, Not Losing Control [Opinion]

There has been a lot of speculation surrounding Google’s purchase of Motorola and the rumor that Google will partner with five manufacturers for the Nexus project. There seem to be signs that things are changing around the way Google controls Android. Google needs the phone manufacturers and the carriers to ensure that handsets get into consumers’ hands, but the tug of war between OS vendor, OEM, and carrier hasn’t been pretty.  (more…)

An Interview with the Mobile Panda, @black_man_x

Droid Life is a site that was built on a passion for Android, especially its incarnation in the OG DROID. Back when I was still sporting the OG I remember coming across The Mobile Panda. Between blog posts and trolling podcasts, @black_man_x, as he’s known on Twitter, used to drop hints about future products and help out regular users. I’ve always appreciated his perspective on mobile, so I thought our lovely community of readers would enjoy the chance to read more about the Panda’s perspective on a variety of topics.  (more…)

Google Can Save Digital Newspapers and Magazines [Opinion]

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When Steve Jobs unveiled the orig­i­nal iPad it was hailed as a con­tent con­sump­tion device. Most of the people that I know that own a tablet use it almost exclusively to consume content, not to create it. Despite the heavy empha­sis on con­sump­tion, pub­lish­ers have strug­gled to get smart­phone and tablet own­ers to pay for con­tent on their devices.

This struggle between publishers and readers is as old as the Internet. The Inter­net set a new stan­dard for con­tent with most web­sites pub­lish­ing articles for free with ads lin­ing the sides of the web­site. Even­tu­al­ly publishers used pay­walls to force read­ers to pay for a sub­scrip­tion or a one time fee to read an arti­cle in its entire­ty. Read­ers who had become accus­tomed to free con­tent moved on to other sources or looked for ways to get the article for free. The iPad was sup­posed to be the medi­um with which pub­lish­ers would be able to charge for con­tent again, but as Jason Pon­tin of Technology Review explains, the cost of app devel­op­ment and lim­it­ed read­er response made the iPad an ille­git­i­mate mes­si­ah of pub­lish­ing.

Pon­tin con­cludes that since the iPad and News­stand failed to attract sub­scribers, the web must be the future of pub­lish­ing, not apps. I’m con­vinced that Pon­tin is wrong. Pub­lish­ers made two vital errors with dig­i­tal pub­lish­ing: first, apps should not be treat­ed as a mag­a­zine replace­ment and second, peo­ple shouldn’t be forced to pay for con­tent that they don’t want. If pub­lish­ers and Google can work togeth­er to cor­rect these errors, togeth­er they can save dig­i­tal mag­a­zines and news­pa­pers.  (more…)

Be a Fanboy of Good Technology [Opinion]

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To say that I love technology would be a bit of an understatement. These are all of the smartphones that I have owned or currently own: HTC Touch Pro2, HTC Droid Eris, Motorola Droid, Motorola Droid 2, iPhone 4, HTC Droid Incredible, iPhone 4S, Palm Pre 2, and HTC Trophy. One Windows Mobile phone, one Windows Phone 7 phone, four Android phones, two iOS phones, and one webOS phone. I grew up playing the NES, Sega Genesis, Gameboy, Playstation, Playstation 2, and now the Xbox 360. I’ve owned a Dell Dimension laptop, an iMac, a Dell Vostro 220, and an ASUS eeePC. At work I use a MacBook Pro running OS X on one desktop and Windows Server 2008 R2 on the other desktop.

It’s not just that I own a smartphone or that I grew up with computers; I love technology. From the lists above you can also tell that I don’t just love a certain company, I love all sorts of technology. With my own hard earned money I’ve purchased expensive devices on and off contract. I work with Macs and PCs every day at work. I play casual games on my phone and heavier games on my Xbox, but every once in a while I think about breaking out the PS2 to relive the glory days of Cool Borders 2 with my brother or hogging the PS1 to play through Final Fantasy VIII (which is better than VII, of course).

Having seen how much time and money I’ve invested into all sorts of technology, you can imagine how frustrating it is for someone to tell me that I don’t understand technology or that I’m a fanboy of one thing or another. Not only do I spend much of my free time writing about and playing with technology, but I make a living working on computers. Like every human I have preferences, but I’ve still worked with a variety of devices from sundry companies.  (more…)