Monday Poll: Text Message or Instant Messaging App?

Two years ago, when we asked readers which mode of communication they used the most – traditional text messaging vs. instant messaging – I was shocked to see that the majority of users were still predominantly using old school text messaging. There are so many good instant messaging services out there that are not only free, but that offer tremendous benefits over text messaging. For example, they don’t compress and shrink the hell out of the photos you send or receive. They also let you participate in legitimate group conversations, share information in real time, etc. But for some reason, in 2012, people were still defaulting back to standard text messaging.

So now that we are over half-way through 2014, it’s time to see where we stand. Are you still sending old school text messages or are you sending instant messages?

Text Message or Instant Messaging Service?

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Friday Poll: Of Your 10 Closest Friends and Family, How Many Own Android Phones?

It won’t come as a surprise, especially to anyone reading a blog dedicated to only talking about smartphones, but people are very passionate about their mobile OS of choice. At first, you might have had a lot of friends and family who would only consider an iPhone, or maybe they were still rocking feature phones, but Android has become extremely popular over the past few years.

We asked this same question back in March of 2012, but of your 10 closest friends and family, how many are rocking an Android device? Back then, the majority of folks said that about half of their friends and family were using Android, and by this point, we would like to hope that number has risen a bit.

So, has your entire inner circle of friends and family started using Android? Will they never turn their back on iOS? We are dying to know.

Of Your Closest 10 Friends and Family, How Many Own Android Phones?

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Wednesday Poll: How Often do You Upgrade Your Phone?

With so many great choices out there for phones, it is easy to want to constantly switch up your daily driver. Unfortunately, buying phones is not cheap off contract. Couple that with the fact that carriers have many customers under contract with high termination fees, the process is made even more difficult.

Since the last time we ran a poll asking about your upgrade habits, all sorts of new programs through carriers which help customers upgrade phones more frequently have been introduced. They vary depending on carrier, but most require little down as long as you are willing to split up the cost of the phone over a certain number of monthly payments.

Here at DL, we are pretty content with purchasing phones outright, leaving us with the ability to throw in whatever SIM we choose, which means we don’t have to worry about contracts. This is one of the reasons we love Nexus devices so much – they are so no-contract-friendly.

Regardless of how you do it, we want to know how often you upgrade and/or change your phone out for a new one. Are you a flagship hopper, jumping from the latest of one OEM to another? Or do you stick with a phone for a couple of years at a time.

Once you answer the poll, feel free to go into more detail about the process you go through when upgrading/changing to a new phone.

How often do you upgrade your phone?

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Monday Poll: Does a Smartphone Design Need to Contain Metal?

I don’t know who we should put more of the blame on – Apple for their chamfered edges and metal design choices with the iPhone, or Samsung for using the cheapest feeling plastics on the planet to build their smartphones with, but people seem to refer to all plastic embodied phones as “cheap” these days. The Nexus 5 certainly doesn’t feel cheap, neither do the G3 or Moto X or OnePlus One, yet they are all made of plastic. But here we are today, talking about Samsung’s new Galaxy Alpha with its metal banding, chamfered edges, and “premium” design, because metal means premium, or something.

I can tell you one thing I know for sure about metal phones – they can be insanely slippery and frustrating to deal with. I spent more than enough time with HTC’s last two flagship phones, the One (M7) and One (M8), both of which were unusable at times because of their lack of grip. Apple could have worked some different metal magic with the iPhone to make it less slippery, but I sort of doubt it. iPhones just happen to be small smartphones that are easily held, whereas Android phones are all oversized and at times tough to hold anyway.

You also have to worry about radio issues with metal phones, wear and tear, weight, etc. In my opinion, metal isn’t exactly the greatest material available for building smartphones.

So I’m curious about this metal thing. Is a metal phone or design that includes metal a requirement when you buy a phone? Is this whole “metal is premium” thing overblown by Apple-leaning tech journos? Feel free to vote below, then hit up the comments.

Does a Smartphone Design Need to Contain Metal?

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Wednesday Poll: How Important is It to Have an SD Card Slot in Your Phone?

Back when the Galaxy Nexus was introduced, Google made it clear that they would rather not have to deal with micro SD cards in their Nexus devices or Android as a whole. Basically, they think the experience of dealing with one block of storage outweighs the experience of having removable storage.

Many manufacturers, outside of Samsung, adopted this philosophy shortly after Google made this known and removed micro SD slots from their phones for a couple of years. Then 2014 arrived and almost all major manufacturers have included a micro SD slot in their new phones, including HTC and LG. Both the LG G3 and HTC One (M8) have slots for expandable storage.

Our question to you is – how important is it that your phone have a micro SD slot? I think it’s safe to assume that manufacturers think you care or they wouldn’t have abandoned them only to bring them back as quickly. I can tell you that I appreciate the option to take storage with me from phone-to-phone, even with all of the cloud storage options available for free or little cost. But what about you? Would you pass on a phone if it didn’t have an SD card slot? Is it just an added bonus? Or does it even matter?

How important is it to have an SD card slot in your phone?

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Monday Poll: Would You Buy a 5.9-inch Motorola Nexus?

The phone pictured above is the 5.9-inch Oppo N1. It’s huge. The reason you are seeing this today is because the rumor of the month suggests that Motorola and Google have teamed up to produce the next Nexus phone as a 5.9-inch whale codenamed “shamu.” I know that you have all been waiting for Motorola to finally get their chance at a Nexus, but it’s pretty clear in the comments of our post this morning that you are torn based on the thought of holding a 5.9-inch phone on a daily basis. Some of you love oversized tablet-like phones, others despise them.

So, what are your thoughts on a 5.9-inch Motorola Nexus? Would you buy one? Would love to hear reasons for buying or passing in the comments.

Would you buy a 5.9-inch Motorola Nexus?

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Friday Poll: Which Google App Would You Like to See Receive a Material Design Makeover Next?

While cruising through /r/Android on reddit, we came across an interesting poll, asking folks which Google app they would like to see receive a Material Design makeover next.

Now that we have Google+, Chrome Beta, and a bit of Google Play updated with the new UI, there is a long list of other Google applications that could use it. While all of these apps are completely functional in their current state, the inner fanboy in all of us would love to see all of them updated with the Material Design look, but the only question is, which one do we want next?

While my personal request would be for Google Play Music, Hangouts, and Gmail (maybe not in that order), we know that eventually all of these apps will receive a massive facelift.

Answer the poll below, then go ahead and give us a brief explanation as to why in the comments section.

Which Google app would you like to see receive a Material Design makeover next?

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Tuesday Poll: Are You Going to Buy a SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Controller?

Earlier this morning, NVIDIA announced the new SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Controller. These two devices are made specifically with gamers in mind, but the tablet itself should have any tech enthusiast most curious. Priced at $299 for the 16GB model, the SHIELD Tablet features a Tegra K1 processor with 2GB of RAM, a full 8″ HD display, as well as a complete stylus for any artists we may have among us.

Coupled with the SHIELD Controller, these units can provide an unparalleled mobile gaming experience, as well as a new way to play your PC games while hanging out on your couch, thanks to NVIDIA’s GameStream. The only downside to GameStream is that PC users will need a rig powered by an NVIDIA GeForce graphics card, but if you are already into gaming on your computer, there is a high probability that your rig already features one.

While last year’s SHIELD Portable didn’t quite take off as NVIDIA might have hoped, given its niche market of buyers (hardcore mobile gamers), we think that by NVIDIA essentially splitting that device into two separate products, the Tablet and Controller, they could see quite a bit more success among regular Android lovers who can choose to purchase only the tablet if they so desire.

Below, answer the poll question, then give us your take on the SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Controller. Was NVIDIA smart to introduce two separate products instead of an all-in-one, or should we hope that they also have plans for a “SHIELD 2″?

Are you going to purchase a SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Controller?

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