With the week coming to a close, we wouldn’t want you to scoot out of here without reading our answers to our Q&A volume 17 session. For those new to the DL Q&A, this is our chance to answer any burning questions that you might have about tech, Android, sports, food, or maybe even something from us personally. We try to mix it up, have fun with it, and dive into both on- and off-topic questions.
In this week’s session, we talk Android phone of the year, a sequel to the Moto X, favorite candy, thoughts on the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES), our favorite game of the moment, and more.
As a reminder – T is Tim, R is Ron, E is Eric, and K is Kellen.
What is the Android phone of the year?
K: Most of me is leaning towards the Moto X because it’s easily my favorite phone of the year, but Samsung dominated again with its Galaxy S4 and Note 3. From a tech fan perspective, Moto X wins for me because of their approach to Android – mostly stock, with useful additions built-in that can be updated quickly through Google Play. But if we’re looking at who “won the day” (h/t Chip Kelly) in the industry, then it’s hard to argue against Samsung and the dominance of the Galaxy S4. That phone is everywhere.
E: I’d have to say that it was the Galaxy S4. I think Samsung has been the one to carry the torch for Android and take it into a place where it really does stand up against the other competitors in the market. A combination of good hardware, software and marketing would put this one on top for me for this year.
T: All “Moto Money” jokes aside, the phone of the year would have to be the Moto X. Long explanation aside, it has been a very disruptive piece of hardware, and I really wish they had sold 1 billion of them.
R: I think the Android phone of the year is clearly the Moto X. Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and HTC’s One were both impressive on their own, but Motorola came out with a device in a stunningly tiny package with a similarly sized screen running a version of Android that is customized in ways that any user can appreciate. Motorola was a ghost of a company until the X.
What are your thoughts of the rumored Nexus TV?
R: I think Google is right to keep working on a TV product, but like Apple and Microsoft, Google can’t fundamentally change the game without the networks being on board (and they aren’t). I don’t think we’ll see innovation in a meaningful way that affects content availability for some time (maybe a decade).
K: At this point, I don’t really have any. Google TV was a massive failure, plus Google now has Chromecast to push all over the place. Why do they need Google TV? Chromecast has proven to be a much simpler way of interacting with your TV. You don’t need a separate remote because you have your phone or tablet, and you also don’t need to install any other apps outside of what you already have on your phone or tablet. Adding another layer, if it’s anything like Google TV, seems like the wrong move. But you know what, Google always seems to surprise me with things I never knew I needed that I decide shortly after them announcing, I now need.
T: I’m not the biggest fan of the Google TV platform, given that the devices and software are usually quite janky. It always seems too slow to me. If I can have a set-top box that says Nexus on it, runs apps and plays games, connects to my TV via HDMI, then I might be a little excited. And I want it to always be listening like the new Xbox One Kinect does. “Okay TV, watch Walking Dead.” That’s the perfect world.
E: I’ve had so much hope for the Google TV relaunch that I don’t really get excited about it anymore. My last two Google I/O predictions have been that they are bringing back Google TV so to hear this rumor just sounds like more of the same. I’ll believe it when I see it.
Who is your favorite CEO/Big wig/figurehead/spokesperson in tech? Why?
K: J-Lo. Errr. I like it when Larry Page gets all genuine and soft with his big-picture speeches or when Elon Musk decides to create something we used to read about in comic books. Matias Duarte always has something really smooth to say about design that makes me want to become a designer of something. Other than those few, the rest of the figureheads in this industry just come off too slimy with their “invest in us!” or “our product is better!” chats about well, everything.
T: Eric Schmidt. That dude is a straight up boss. I love his charisma and apparent attitude of, “Oh yeah? Well I’m Eric Schmidt and I’ll just buy you if you piss me off.” Smart guy, forward thinking, and has a way with the ladies. Schmidt for president!
R: I think my favorite tech CEO is Jeff Bezos. I don’t always agree with his decisions or the ways that he runs things, but he does a fantastic job running Amazon. He has confined to transform what Amazon is from a simple online bookstore to a storage host, online retail store, digital reader manufacturer, MP3 store, movie and TV store, and Android device manufacturer. Amazon continues to change the way people buy and consume content in really intriguing and meaningful ways. Also, he’s a fantastic speaker.
E: I’d have to say the Woz. He always has something really interesting to say, and I think it would be even more interesting if his ties to Apple weren’t as strong. If he were in charge I think a lot of things about the mobile industry today would be different.
What’s your favorite game on Android at this current moment?
E: The only game that I keep on all my phones that keeps my attention for that long is a tiny little game called Alchemy. Drag two elements together on top of each other and it creates something else. Sounds simple, but pretty fun and they’ve got a good amount of things to find. It’s been out for like 3 years and I still haven’t gotten everything unlocked.
T: I have been playing a lot of Assassin’s Creed Pirates and Zombie Killer Squad. But given the job I have, I find myself changing up my game playlist quite regularly.
R: Tiny Death Star (which should have been Tiny Cloud City).
K: I picked up a SHIELD over Black Friday weekend and seem to be playing NBA JAM whenever I can. Probably top 5 game of all time for me, and one that if I see in an arcade am instantly drawn to.
You guys love the Moto X, so what would you want to see in a Moto X 2?
T: I just want a little bit bigger of a display (possibly 1080p, but not a requirement), faster chipset (Snapdragon 800), and a MUCH better camera. That’s it. Don’t change the body style, Moto. It’s perfect how it is.
K: Is “more of the same” the worst answer? I love the size, so I wouldn’t want it to grow. Give me more customizable options like a bigger battery options or camera sensor upgrade. Maybe go with a higher-quality display though, since the 720p panel on the Moto X really is outclassed by all of the 1080p displays from competitors’ phones. And come up with another add-on or two like Active Display that make my life easier. I don’t know what those are, so Motorola, tell me what I need.
E: I don’t think the Moto X2 would be a typical sequel to a phone if we get to that point. It seems like Motorola was trying to make a statement with the Moto X and for a sequel, I would expect them to keep most of the stuff the same. It would be really interesting to see how people reacted to releasing pretty much the same Moto X, with a few improvements here and there, and for Moto to really focus on the experience of the phone rather than the spec sheet. At least that’s my dream.
R: I would love to see a better camera on the Moto X2. That’s it’s main weakness and I think Motorola knows it. Hopefully they’ll get their act together and make a camera solution that rivals Nokia, Apple, and Samsung.
Excited for CES? Looking forward to anything from it?
K: Ahhh yes, CES. Everyone January! We’ll be there (in Vegas) from January 5-9 for those interested. To tell you the truth, I no longer get excited or look forward to any of the products at CES because companies no longer care about unveiling anything important at CES. Well, outside of NVIDIA, Huawei and $60 tablet makers, it’s more about TVs and other parts of the electronics industry than mobile. With that said, I still get super excited about going to Vegas for those few days, hanging out with industry friends, chatting it up face-to-face with company reps, and doing that whole no-sleep-14-hour-days-with-booze-and-gambling-and-Dennis-Rodman thing. It’s always a blast, assuming you can get out of there without the bird flu.
T: I am always excited for CES. I keep thinking that I want to do something really special, but I’m trying to figure out what that is. If you have any ideas, let me know. But yes, I’m very excited. Kellen and myself always find outrageous things to do, so it will be great. As far as the tech is concerned, it’s hard to say because nothing too special has been coming from CES lately. But that could always change! Fingers crossed.
R: I’m not excited at all for CES. Last year it was a furious ball of energy and excitement over products that I simply don’t care about. We want CES to be a big deal still, but the realty is that major, game changing announcements aren’t happening at large conferences like that anymore.
What’s your favorite candy?
T: Almond Joy and Sour Patch Kids, but never at the same time.
R: Three Musketeers.
E: Reese’s. Duh.
K: Oh, Starburst for sure. Doesn’t matter what kind either.
Bonus question: What do each of you want for Christmas?
T: I want a Moto X with a wood back. Looks like Tiny Tim won’t be getting his wish this year.
E: Top on my list for accessible things: Fitbit Force. Unrealistic things: Xbox One or a Nexus 5.
R: I honestly don’t want anything. There would be things that would be nice to have, but I don’t need anything. I want to learn to be content with what I have in a meaningful way – which means giving up daydreaming spending money on things. I’m not trying to be bah humbug – just honest. God has blessed me and my family and in thankful for it.