This is Project Ara: A Gallery of the Modular Beauty

Today was Project Ara’s day to shine. Through their developer conference, they lived streamed (might still be live streaming) an opening keynote, gave an update on the platform and roadmap, talked food carts and Puerto Rico, ran through demos, took questions from developers and participants at the event, and then unveiled a massive gallery of the updated Ara skeleton with modules and other customizations to show the potential as we get closer to availability.

We tried to capture some of the best images from today’s image dump to help show off a world with modular phones or what your first modular phone might look like. Think customization. Think interchangeability. Think Android. Think tech. Think future.

Does this look like a concept you could get behind?  (more…)

5 Things Android Enthusiasts Care About Today

Last week I had the chance to hang out with Kellen and Tim while I was visiting family in Portland. One of the things that we talked about was what it was like to be an Android enthusiast back in 2009 and on. Back then, Android was about rooting, installing custom ROMs and kernels, customizing your device, and pushing the limits of the hardware.

It was also about not using an iPhone; at the time the iPhone was considered the state of the art device, and it would arguably continue to be a superior overall package for several years. While the iPhone had more apps and a more established ecosystem, the Motorola Droid boasted both a physical and software keyboard, real multitasking (it’s hard to remember now, but the iPhone didn’t get real multitasking until iOS 4), a higher resolution camera with a flash, customizable home screens with widgets, expandable storage, and a user-replaceable battery. It was the antithesis of the iPhone in so many ways, and those of us that used it were proud to say we didn’t use iPhones.

As I was reflecting on this, I began to wonder what it means to be an Android enthusiast today. How much has changed and how much has stayed the same? Read on for my top five things Android enthusiasts care about in 2015. (more…)

Sony Walkman NW-ZX2 Hands-on and Tour

When Sony announced a new Walkman during its press event at CES yesterday, I just knew I had to get my hands on it. As an owner of previous Walkman players, back in the 90s, I was excited to see how Sony would market one which runs Android and looks much like a smartphone.

Sony expects to price the Walkman NW-ZX2 around $1000, shipping it with Android 4.2.2, which is apparently the most stable build of Android released. When asked, a Sony representative stated that the company was more focused on delivering a consistent and smooth experience, not running the latest build of Android. Needless to say, it is possible Sony will not spend many resources on updating the Walkman anytime soon to Lollipop.  (more…)

CES 2015 Starts Sunday: A Quick Preview

CES 2015 starts on Sunday. Seems a little crazy that it’s back already, I know, but that’s what we get during the second week of every new year – a trip to Las Vegas. As you can imagine, we are headed into the desert once again to see what major electronics manufacturers have in store, even if there is very little focus on mobile or Android these days. The show is still a big enough deal that we need to at least show up to find out.

Keep in mind that the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) isn’t what it was four or five years ago. There was a time that it was a really big deal for mobile enthusiasts. It once was a show where new flagship phones were announced from all of the big players, but those show up less and less anymore. Now, we typically get one from Sony, maybe another from LG, and that’s about it. There are wearables and tablets galore, most of which are terrible products from companies you have never heard of that you would never buy, but they have their moment in the news cycle.

Media outlets put up big stages, try to tell you that this week is going to be “Huge!” and that you must tune into their ridiculously over-the-top coverage because it will be the best CES yet, but they are lying. CES is mostly boring these days. Well, unless you like TVs and the technology that goes into cars. Yes, TVs and automobiles now dominate CES.  (more…)

Droid Life’s Top 10 Apps of 2014

2014 was a special year for apps on Android. Not only did we see a ton of fantastic applications released by developers, but Google also got in on the fun, re-releasing almost its entire app suite with updated interfaces, thanks to the launch of Material Design.

Honestly, Google should have a few spots on this list thanks to the changes made, but we didn’t feel that application updates warranted a spot on the Top 10, so instead, we focused primarily on apps that were released within the 2014 calendar year.

We already got through our Top 10 Games of 2014, so let’s keep it rolling.

Here are Droid Life’s top ten apps of 2014.  (more…)

7 Takeaways From 2014 in Android and Wireless

As I was running through my list of the best Android phones of 2014, I started thinking through the rest of the year’s happenings as well. From the launch of Android Wear to Lollipop to the emergence of Chinese manufacturers that seem to not care about margins, a lot of stuff happened. You see, I’m one of those people who likes to look for trends or defining moments or significant moves that can set the stage for things to come, and then talk about them openly. So that’s what this post is all about.

These are the seven takeaways from 2014 from my perspective. Feel free to read through and then take to the comments to continue the conversation. Let’s talk about the year that was. Let’s talk about 2015.

Ready?  (more…)