This past Monday, we called upon our fantastic community for Volume 20 of the DL Q&A Sessions. We received a ton of questions, so we are back today with our answers. The questions we received had a lot to do with people’s upgrades, but you will have to understand that we can’t necessarily answer each person’s situation. We all view phones in different ways, and what works for us, may not work for you.
Other questions touch on what we would like to see from Android in an upcoming major update, if Apple’s release of a larger iPhone will affect the Android marketshare as it stands today, and we were also asked about the best burger and beer combo in the world.
As always, thank you to everyone who submitted a question this week!
Reminder: K is Kellen, T is Tim, R is Ron, and E is Eric.
When do you think the days of poor Android cameras and camera software will come to an end for most or all flagships phones?
K: HTC says in 12-18 months they may have something truly spectacular. Otherwise, I think we’re waiting for some other new breakthrough. The last couple of years have been mostly the same thing, with slightly tweaked software processing to try and improve upon imaging. As far as software goes, HTC is doing some really good things with their camera UI, as is Google with their new Camera app.
T: As long as Google keeps pumping out hardware that is lackluster, while marketing “Capture the moments that matter,” who knows. Samsung and LG seem to be leading the charge as of right now in terms of slapping good sensors in their devices, but HTC is stuck on this UltraPixel nonsense. Motorola also seems to be stuck back in 2009 in terms of image quality, so anyone’s guess is as good as mine. I have high hopes, though.
R: I think we’re there for most people, because most people don’t ever look at their pictures on a screen larger than their phone. If you’re using your phone to take pictures that you want to print or that you want to use on a larger display, then you still need to be careful with which phone you select, but for most people it really doesn’t matter. If you think back even a few years, most smartphone cameras were all like the Moto X. In a few more years I think everyone will be happy with their camera (unless you have a Moto X +3).
E: I hope soon. I hope that the OEMs see that we aren’t really happy with one bad feature on an otherwise great phone. Unfortunately, phones like the S5 and M8 will have sales numbers to refute that claim, but I think the era of flagships without faults is coming.
Do you think the OnePlus One will be the S5 and M8 killer?
K: Definitely not. With an invite-only purchase system, this thing is just another cheap unlocked phone with decent specs. I’m not saying it’ll be a bad phone, but this company isn’t on anyone’s radar outside of tech fanatics.
T: To think it’s a possibility for an overseas company to simply swoop in on Samsung and HTC, then release a “killer” device, without any of the general American public knowing of their existence, they might have another thing coming. While I believe the One from OnePlus might be a cool phone for Android enthusiasts, we will have to wait and see if any American carriers even intend to pick it up down the road. And as Kellen mentioned, an invite-only process is not the way I want to buy my phones.
R: When they actually release a product we’ll have a better idea of how it stacks up, but they have a lot working against them.
E: No. That’s what we all asked about the OUYA when it first came out and look how that ended up. Brand recognition is still a huge part in the game and something that Samsung and HTC have an edge in.
What do you hope will be Android’s next big feature?
K: Somehow bridging all of Google’s platforms in a way that doesn’t require any effort on the user’s part to interact with. There are rumors of such a move happening. As someone who uses Google services all day on a computer and then moves to my phone powered by Google in the evening, I can’t wait for everything to just happen magically together. I kind of want my computer and phone and tablet to all just be one big experience.
T: Again, I will side with Kellen’s response. End the fragmentation! /sarcasm – What I enjoy is thinking that Android is as good as it will get, then each year at Google I/O, Mountain View comes in and tells me how my experience is going to get even better. It’s true, I’m a blind Google fanboy, but I can remain objective when thinking about Android. I think it’s a strong, vast platform for users and developers, but there are always way to improve it. Luckily, it’s not my job to come up with those ideas.
R: I don’t think Android needs another big feature. Android needs increased app parity with iOS, better design requirements (not guidelines) for icons, and continued streamlining of the overall design to make it more unified with the rest of Google’s product design.
E: Being everywhere you need it, and being similar to what you know from Android. Watches, TV, cars and other places are soon to have Android in a much better working capacity then they did before. If Google can streamline the process and make it incredibly easy for features to work across platforms, Android will benefit greatly.
If Apple does release an iPhone with a bigger screen, and possibly even a phablet variant, do you think it will have a big affect on Android’s marketshare?
K: No. At this point, Apple is going to continue to sell lots of phones and so are Android manufacturers (well, Samsung). I don’t necessarily see a form factor completely turning things around.
T: Affect marketshare? Meh, that’s hard to say. You will have current Android fans saying, “OMG, Apple copied Android again!” and you will also have a few iOS fans claiming it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. My take is that I do like the look of the hardware Apple uses, but it’s just too small and closed off for me. I know a few people who would love a larger iPhone, but in terms of people switching from Android for a bigger iPhone, that’s a tough question. If Apple does release an iPhone, say around 5″ or so, I would be tempted just to try it out. Plus, I would have access to Tiny Wings!
R: No, I don’t. There are certainly some people who switch from iOS to Android for a larger display, but it’s unlikely that there will be a mass migration. Even if there was a big change, it wouldn’t affect the market share in the whole world because iOS devices are still far more expensive than Android devices.
E: I think at this point, Apple has lost their “we can’t do anything wrong” pass from the public. If they were to keep doing this, I’m sure people would be quick to realize that Android has been doing it for longer and will be more willing to either call Apple out on their hypocrisy or pick up an Android device instead.
If you could be any tool from Home Depot, which would you be? Why?
K: Ummm, what?
T: Do they sell sand blasters at Home Depot? I’ve always loved those words together. Sand Blaster!
R: I would be a hammer because it’s a versatile tool.
E: I’d be a jack, because I lift bro!
What is your perfect burger/beer combo?
K: The Franklin burger from Distilled in NYC is out of bounds, as are the burgers from Tasty n Sons and Gruner in Portland. Give me any of those, along with a lighter pale ale or even a pilsner and I’m in heaven. Burgers, at least really good ones, have enough flavor that I’m not about to drown it out with a porter or some hoppy-ass, bitter IPA. Let the burger talk, the beer just wash it down refreshingly.
T: Wow, what an impossible question. The beer part is easy for me, since I would automatically choose Lost Coast Brewery’s Great White. It’s light, extremely refreshing, and has a nice touch of citrus in there. As for the burger, there are just too many to choose from. Portland’s Tasty n Sons has an amazing selection of beef, but there is also a spot here called Yakuza, which features one of the best burgers in the state. If I could combine those two, I’d be a happy boy.
R: My favorite burger is from Slater’s 50/50. One of those with a glass of Hangar 24 is pretty great.
E: For the burger, I would have to choose a triple cheeseburger from good old 96th Street Steakburger in Carmel, IN. My beer of choice would also be from Indy, Sun King’s Sunlight pale cream ale. Just thinking about it has made me hungry.
Will Ben Affleck nail it, fail miserably, or perform somewhere in the middle as Batman?
K: Zack Snyder is directing the film, so I’m not sure it’s up to Ben. The movie will be a 3-hour long, lens-flare, digitally overblown wannabe-epic-macho-fest. There won’t be much acting. Maybe that’s a good thing. I don’t know.
T: After the last Batman series, I don’t really care for another. I thought Christian Bale was an amazing Bruce Wayne, and compared to Christian, Ben Affleck blows as an actor. Depending on how the trailers look, I may skip this one in theaters. On another note, why can’t Hollywood come up with something more original then rehashing the same things over and over? And on another note, I am so freakin’ excited for the next Godzilla movie. Seriously, that may sound hypocritical of me, but I don’t care. I love Godzilla!
R: I think he’ll be somewhere in the middle. He wouldn’t be my first choice to play Bruce/Batman, but I think he’ll do fine. My favorite actor so far has still been Michael Keaton. It’ll be interesting to see if he does anything with his voice.
E: He will absolutely fail. The next Batman movies will have a very hard time living up to the Dark Knight Trilogy.
If you were forced to use only one phone for 2014, which would it be? This can include unreleased phone.
K: Right now, I’m still absolutely loving the Nexus 5. I’ve gone through the One (M8) already and am ready to ditch this thing from Samsung, also known as the Galaxy S5, because I can’t wait to get back to the N5.
T: Well, it wouldn’t be the Galaxy S5 or HTC One (M8). The GS5 is a total lag fest, and the One (M8) is just too heavy and tall for my tastes. I’m really hoping the G3 and the next flagship from Motorola are awesome. If I had to choose just one, I would just go with the LG G3, as my expectations are ultra high for that device.
R: I would love to use the iPhone 5s or 6 for 2014 (shocking). If I had to pick an Android phone it would probably be the HTC One M8 mini (if there will be such a thing). If I had to use a Windows Phone then I would probably use the Lumia 1520.
E: Probably the M8. I’m just such a big fan of what HTC has been able to do hardware wise that I would forgive their camera selection. I love my Moto X but sometimes it leaves me wanting more processing power.
Will any of you purchase Google Glass when it is made available as a true consumer product?
K: I have to answer this in two ways. First, if I didn’t review tech for a living, there is no way in hell I’d ever buy it. Never, ever. But, since I do review tech, I’m sure we’ll have one. Or maybe Google would do us all a favor and never make it available as a consumer product.
T: After using Google Glass for about a month, mind you it was the Explorer Edition, there is no way I would pay money for an experience like that. It is bland and utterly boring. Unless the consumer model doesn’t make you look like a fool, and somehow they make the interaction with it more meaningful, I will stay away from it.
R: Absolutely not, but that has more to do with my disposable income than with the viability of the product. I don’t think I would want to use Glass. I think it’s a neat idea and that it will absolutely bring benefits to niche markets and industries, but I don’t think it makes sense as a consumer device.
E: If I graduate college and find a nice, well paying job that gives me lots of disposable income, I would seriously think about maybe getting it. Possibly.