I Didn’t Buy a Nexus to Flash All the Things

If you were to ask me why I buy Nexus phones and tablets (outside of the fact that it is my job to own them), I would answer with the following in no particular order. I like stock Android better than manufacturer skins. I like swift updates to the newest versions of Android. I typically like the designs used in Nexus devices. I like to see what new technologies that Google has incorporated in the latest Nexus devices and Android platform, since Nexus devices almost always try to highlight something new in mobile. Before the Nexus 6, I was also a big fan of the low price tags that accompanied Nexus devices. And, well, that’s it. Those are the reasons.

You will notice I didn’t mention the words flash, ROM, root, recovery, bootloader, adb, SDK, boot.img, kernel, or forum. I didn’t mention those, because I buy Nexus devices for reasons that don’t involve tinkering, hacking, flashing, unlocking, and tweaking. I buy Nexus devices because I want to use them like someone would use a Galaxy S5 or Moto X or G3. I like the untouched, out of box experience.  (more…)

Are Carriers Really Branding the Nexus 6? What About SIM Locking?

Over the weekend, the crew in the Nexus 6 subreddit noticed that AT&T’s official images of the Nexus 6 included AT&T’s globe logo on the back of the device, just below the “Nexus” logo. As you can imagine, kind words were not shared, especially with AT&T’s branding leading almost everyone in the building to immediately joke that Verizon would probably place at least two of their own on the device, just to one-up their competitor. Actually, Verizon probably does it just annoy the hell out of us, but either way, those who pre-ordered the AT&T version were not exactly excited about this news.

But wait, we all thought that Google created just one SKU and model for the US, so is AT&T really placing a logo on the Nexus 6 devices sold directly from them? Well, we don’t actually know because no one has seen the device in the wild yet. There are some things to consider here.  (more…)

If You Plan to Buy a New Moto X, Buy a Turbo Charger Just in Case.

Over the weekend, Motorola announced that the new Moto X would go up for pre-order on Tuesday, along with their Turbo Charger, a device that utilizes Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 technology to give the new X up to 8 hours of battery power within 15 minutes. If you plan to buy the new Moto X, fork out the extra $35 for the Turbo Charger. Just do. And I don’t say that because I think it’s a cool accessory (even if it is). No, I say that because the battery life on this phone is average, and you never know when you are going to need another 8 hours of juice in a day.

I hate to bring semi-bad news like this on a Monday, but after testing the new Moto X for over a week now, I don’t have any other word to bring on a battery life front.  (more…)

Thoughts on Moto 360 Battery Life

Thanks to a handful of initial reviews from select press that surfaced close to last Friday’s embargo time, everyone thinks the Moto 360 has terrible battery life. Forget the fact that these reviewers couldn’t possibly have given the device thorough testing on its battery in the 12 hours (some less) that they had the watch in hand, but after having one on wrist for four days now, I think I can safely say that battery life is no where near as terrible as it was made to sound.

Let’s talk about the Moto 360 and some battery-related items.  (more…)

Verizon Thinks You are a Fool for Not Wanting a 2-Year Contract, Because You are Saying “No” to Discounted Phones

Calling a 2-year service agreement with a wireless carrier in the US a “scam” is probably putting it too lightly. There are few deals in any industry as bad as the “deal” you get when you lock yourself into a contract for wireless service. Don’t tell that to the person in charge of Verizon’s official Facebook account, though, as they seem to think you are a fool for not wanting to sign a contract. Why? Because you are saying “no to discounted phones. Period.”  (more…)

Dear Carriers, If You are Going to Take Features From Phones to Make Money, Give Us Options to Get Them Back

Last week, we featured a deal for an unlocked LG G3 that could be snagged on eBay for $500. We picked one up because international versions of phones not only seem to receive updates much quicker than their counterparts here in the States (a topic for another day), but this is the model of the G3 that features wireless charging out of the box, something US carriers (Verizon and AT&T in particular) removed so that they could make extra money off of customers like you and me with accessories that add features like this on.

Once the device arrived, I slapped it on the Qi wireless charger that never leaves my desk, just to test the functionality on a G3. Sure enough, it worked without hassle straight out of the box. I didn’t need to slap a new cover on or attach a case, it just charges as if the feature is built-in, which it is. While this should have brought immediate joy, it also brought on a substantial amount of anger even quicker. Why? Because carriers in the US have robbed us of features like this for years to help them make an extra buck or two. And while I’m fine with companies trying to get richer (I’m sure we all would do the same), the way they go about it frustrates the hell out of me. What I mean is that if you are going to dumb down my smart device, so that you can charge me for accessories to make it smarter, give me some damn choices.  (more…)

The Moto 360 is the Only Android Wear Device I Want

Tim and I were seated in the press section during Google I/O’s keynote last week as director of Android engineering David Singleton announced to all attendees that the first Android Wear smartwatches would be available later in the day. He started with the LG G Watch. A small golf clap followed. He then thought he was surprising us all by announcing that Samsung had created the Gear Live, which would also be available within a few hours. Another small golf clap followed. You could then feel the building about to explode with joy as he moved on to the Moto 360, a watch that is without a doubt the most anticipated smartwatch of all time on Android. And then came the news – it wouldn’t be available until “later this summer.” The entire crowd of around 6,000 booed and moaned and sighed simultaneously. While I’m a member of the press and technically not allowed to join in on that outcry, deep inside, I did. The Moto 360 is the only Android Wear smartwatch I want.

Why is it the only smartwatch I want, you ask? For one major reason – it doesn’t look like a smartwatch. When I wear a watch, I do so because it’s a fashion item that is also useful. Actually, to tell you the truth, at this point, it is really all about the fashion. I have a phone that can tell me the time if I really need it to. A watch has become an accessory first that also happens to tell the time. And since the Moto 360 has been beautifully crafted with stainless steel and leather to look like a watch first, smartwatch second, it wins in my book. (more…)