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…)
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…)
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…)
According to Google’s Vice President of Engineering David Burke, you might like a phablet if you tried it. That’s what CNET, one of the handful of publications invited to Google’s campus last week for the purpose of demoing Lollipop and the new Nexus devices, gleaned from an interview of Google execs, excerpts of which were published yesterday. (more…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)