For the most part, CES 2015 is over. Technically, the show floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center is still open until Friday, but the big announcements and product unveilings stopped once Tuesday finished. Wait, were there big product announcements and unveilings? I guess that’s what we want to find out now.
The DL crew is headed out of Vegas today, as our time covering one of the year’s largest electronics events is officially over. If we stay any longer, things will only get weirder than we need them to.
As we leave, we wanted to hear from DL readers – is there anything you will remember from this year’s CES? Will it be the G Flex 2 or Sony’s insanely priced Walkman? The Moto X Pro? Maybe it won’t even be Android related? What about Quantum dot TVs or all of the car tech or the flood of wearables? How about the “Internet of Things?”
To finish off 2014, we thought we should do something that hasn’t been done around these parts in at least a couple of years. It’s map time!
For those new to the “Where you at?” posts, just know that way back in the early days, we thought it was a cool idea to have the community drop pins on a map to show where they were reading the site from. As the site grew, obviously the number of pins increased, so we got some really fun maps out of it. Plus, it’s always interesting to see the different countries from around the world that are represented here. (more…)
We gave you our best apps, best games, best phones, and takeaways from 2014, but there is still at least one more category that needs to be touched on. Assuming you read the title, you know what it is. It’s time to talk about the biggest busts or flops or mistakes of the last 12 months in Android.
This time, though, we are going to let you decide who wins out. We don’t have a poll, because that would mean we were attempting to narrow the list down. We don’t want to do that. This thing is wide open. Instead, we just want you to take to the comments and sound off on what you consider to be the biggest bust of the year.
Was it the OnePlus invite system? How about Amazon’s Fire Phone? Maybe you think Samsung failed horribly by missing expectations with the Galaxy S5? Was it Verizon’s failure to launch the Nexus 6 or even the still-very-limited availability of the phone? Can a whale be a failure? What about the time it took for Motorola to launch the Moto 360? Or maybe it’s the flat tire on the 360? Could it be HTC’s black bar on the One (M8)? My vote would be for YouTubers bending things, but that may not be fully Android-related.
2014 is less than two weeks from being officially in the books. It has been a solid year for smartphone tech, especially on Android, though I’m not sure this year carried the same weight or significance as years past. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good year and a bunch of really great smartphones were released that will last a long time, I just don’t know how many of them will be all that memorable in a couple of years from now. With that said, we still need to decide who came out on top.
We saw follow-up flagships from all of the major players, like Samsung, Google, Motorola, LG, Sony, and HTC. None of them really took any chances, but they all still delivered phones that you would have no difficulty finding supporters of. Beyond the standard crew, we also saw Sony finally enter the US market while its newest flagship was still fairly fresh, and OnePlus made a big splash while pissing people off along the way. Like I just said – there were a ton of options, all of which were good in their own right.
We will have our DL staff top lists here shortly, but for now, we want to know the DL reader phone of the year. Who are you taking?
We know that not everyone here owns a Nexus device or new Moto X and has been basking in the beauty of Android 5.0 “Lollipop” for a couple of weeks. And since that is the case, that means that a lot of you are probably running Kit Kat or maybe even Jelly Bean (hopefully, nothing older). But, because this is Droid Life and we like to find out for sure through polls, we are going to do that now with a simple question of, “Which version of Android is your phone running?”
As the numbers roll in, it should be interesting to see how an Android community compares to Google’s official distribution numbers. On December 1, Google updated the numbers, showing KitKat at 33.9%, Jelly Bean at 48.7%, Ice Cream Sandwich at 7.8%, and Gingerbread at 9.1%. I would venture to guess that these will be much different. Still, let’s see!
Over the last couple of years, we have really tried to open everyone’s mind to the idea that there are options outside of carrier contracts and the subsidy phone discount. From covering the best prepaid providers to talking about full retail phone prices and the initial launch of carrier device payment plans, you should all be well versed on the methods available for buying a new phone without a lengthy agreement. But even with all of that coverage, some of you are perfectly happy with the subsidy model and do not have a problem buying a phone on-contract or you are using the last few work-arounds remaining to keep things like unlimited data plans. And you know what? There is nothing wrong with that.
This morning, though, I was listening to Verizon CFO Fran “ShamWow” Shammo speak at a conference about the current trends in wireless, which just so happen to be device payment plans. Verizon has Edge, T-Mobile has Jump, and AT&T has Next, to name a few. Shammo insisted that while they will continue to offer Edge, 70% of their customers still to this day choose the subsidy model.
And that got me thinking – I wonder what the DL community is trending towards? Are you still locked into a wireless contract or are you now fully month-to-month?
Throughout the day, thanks to topics like the Nexus 6 having encryption that can’t be turned off without taking matters into your own hands, we have seen the emergence of a healthy discussion around the topic of tinkering. When we say “tinkering,” we are talking about understanding adb commands, flashing recoveries or images or ROMs, and generally deciding that you can make your phone better than it is out of the box. As the conversation has grown, a number of readers have taken it back to what we used to consider to be the initial step in becoming a tinkerer, and that’s through rooting a phone. And that thought has revived this poll question, which we try to run at least once a year, but haven’t seen December of 2013. In other words, it’s time.
So, let’s do this. In the poll below, all you have to do is answer by choosing if you are “rooted” or “non-rooted.” From there, to continue this conversation, feel free to jump into the comments section and talk about the phone you own, if you are rooted or non-rooted, why you fall into either of those categories, etc.
As you may have noticed, a whole lot of app updates have hit Google Play this past month, bringing Material Design aesthetics to all Android users, not just those lucky enough to already have Lollipop.
To list a couple of the more major updates, Gmail, Play Store, Play Music, and Maps got very updated looks, but then you have apps like Drive, Docs, Slides, and Wallet that not only received new looks, but new features as well. Each update was very important for that exact app.
Our question today is quite simple – which one has been your favorite so far?
If you still don’t have a few of these updated apks, follow the links to our previous write ups above where we provide the apk files when available.