On Monday, we posted up Volume 39 of the Droid Life Q&A Sessions, looking directly at you to submit questions. As always, you didn’t disappoint. We received tons of a great questions, ranging in multiple subjects. We were asked about the Nexus 6P, our current thoughts on Android N, which fitness devices we love, and even our predictions for the Portland Trail Blazers.
With Google I/O coming up and Motorola probably launching a device or two, 2016 is about to heat up. Much like you, we are looking forward to it. Fingers crossed for a blazin’ rest of the year.
Take a look at our answers below.
Reminder: K is Kellen, T is Tim.
After seeing the G5’s lack of Modules, what modules would you want in a modular phone?
K: I feel like there are much more innovative thinkers than me who could answer this, but it could be cool to see some sort of speaker attachment to turn your phone into a great external speaker for occasions where you don’t want to also carry around another Bluetooth speaker. It could be cool to add some sort of secondary display like the YotaPhone had that shows real details and is touch sensitive.
T: I would be all about an external speaker. I would use that thing all of the time. LG sorta has one for the G5, but it’s unavailable in the US. Beyond audio, I would also like to see more development towards a camera attachment, but not one that only adds a dedicated shutter button and T/W wheel. Talk about boring and uninspired.
Looking to buy a smaller (~5″) phone for my wife, who’s joining the 21st century and finally getting a smartphone. Any suggestions?
K: There aren’t many. The Xperia Z5 Compact is an option, but it’s just not that great of a phone. iPhone 6s heh.
T: Nexus 5X seems like it’d be a good choice. Pure Android, no funny business. Good camera, and the overall performance has gotten better thanks to updates.
What’s your favorite fitness device?
K: Almost all of them suck, unfortunately. I wore Jawbone’s garbage trackers for years, am wearing Fitbit’s giant Alta thing now and don’t like it, and use my TAG Connected for runs and don’t like it either because like all Android Wear watches, it’s battery life is trash. My favorite individual thing is probably my Jaybird X2 headphones. They sound great and last a long time.
T: Even when I’m doing fitness stuff, playing sports and what have you, I don’t use anything. For some odd reason, I don’t really care to track my steps, calories, BPM, or anything like that. Just doesn’t interest me as a consumer.
What are your thoughts so far on Android N?
K: I wish I could spend more time with it, but it seems to be pretty buggy still. I’d try and say that I’m excited for multi window, but I never used multi window on any other phone regularly. The new notifications with quick reply look great. So ummm, yeah it’s cool, but doesn’t exactly seem to be anything ultra special at the moment.
T: We are only on DP2 of Android N, and as of right now, I would say, “so far, so good.” The UI for the notification pulldown is a little iffy, but if that gets straightened out, I am excited for its release. It seems to be a very comprehensive update for the OS. As of today, though, it’s pretty plain and borderline boring. Bring on the public launch!
What hardware or software feature would you like to see get implemented for the next big jump in smartphone camera quality?
K: I mean, how much better can we get? I guess we can start bumping up resolution again while keeping the pixels bigger. I do think that we’ll continue to see dual cameras too, because with the limits in smartphone thickness, two cameras do allow for some fun things, like wide-angle shooting or monochrome goodness. But these ideas are still pretty new and need to mature.
T: In my opinion, it’s not the hardware or camera software that needs to be upgraded, but it is the services that we share our photos to. For example, when I post a picture to Instagram or Twitter, I don’t want to be losing quality. IG has definitely come a long way since the days when they were jacking up our resolution, but I still think there is a long ways to go. At this point, I don’t know how much more is really necessary to make mobile photography any better. I won’t say we’re at a pinnacle or anything, but we’re pretty damn close, right? I guess the only next step would be 3D cameras. Everyone wants that.
Will Project ARA ever see the light of day?
K: Probably not. I just don’t think that the interest is there any longer since we are years and years late on any type of release. I always thought it was a cool concept, but didn’t make much sense for hardware manufacturers to get behind in the long run. The support and cost involved has to be huge. But, Ara did lead the way to phones like the G5, which are attempting to make modularity main stream for the first time. So there’s at least that.
T: While I love the concept, I don’t see it coming to market anytime too soon. And even if it does, it will likely be met with the same issues the G5 has – too few modules. You need tons of developers and hardware makers combining resources to build a platform on modularity, and right now, we are not seeing that. I believe Toshiba is currently leading the charge on modular goodies, but even with that big name in the game, we are a long ways off.
Is the Nexus 6P still the best all around bang for your buck smartphone?
K: Probably, yeah, if you like big ass monster phones. But at sub-$500 on most days, thanks to deals, I’m not really sure how it isn’t always in the top 3 choices. It’s stock Android, gets updates, has a nice design and great build, and super good camera. Not much to hate on there.
T: If you don’t mind the size, the price and specs are still suitable for daily driving, no doubt. I love that phone. Even if you were to argue against the Nexus 6P, it’s easily in any blog’s Top 3 Android phones list. It’s that good. Just thinking about it makes me excited for what we might see from Google this year.
What will Apple need to do to make the iPhone 7 your daily phone?
K: They can’t do anything to make that happen. Apple has made really good phones for a long time and I still have absolutely zero interest in owning one for daily use. I typically don’t like the design of iPhones and absolutely think that iOS is a garbage operating system. And that’s not just me speaking as an Android elitist. iOS is just so walled off still and not at all friendly to someone who considers themselves as even somewhat of a power user. IT STILL DOESN’T HAVE A F*CKING FILE SYSTEM OR MANAGER. IN 2016. Ugh.
T: I really wanted to test drive the iPhone 6 for a while and even review it, but Kellen snatched that opportunity from me. Maybe I can do the iPhone 7. We’ll see. The phone will likely be thin, have a Retina display, newer processor, and better camera. It’s always the same thing, just with updated specs. I’m sure it will be a fine phone, but I don’t see myself dropping Android anytime soon, especially with all of the money I have invested in apps and stuff.
How do you feel about the Blazers’ Playoffs chances now with impactful injuries on opposing teams?
K: For once, the Blazers aren’t the injured team and getting taken advantage of. It feels weird. I certainly feel for the teams that are now injured and about to be bounced by the Blazers, but I can’t help but also think, “Man, finally it’s not Portland.” That said, the Warriors sans-Curry can still take out the Blazers, probably in 5 or 6. As fun as the Blazers can be, the Warriors are next-level good.
T: I foresee the Blazers making it to round 2, meeting up with the Warriors, and possibly taking the series. But even if that happens, which seems unlikely, the Spurs or OKC would annihilate us. We don’t have the depth (weapons) needed to go to the Finals. We have a ton of heart, but even with the amount of drive, I don’t see us winning a championship this year.
To see all of the past Q&A Sessions, look here.