Last week, we opened up Volume 41 of the DL Q&A Sessions. Good for me, but bad for you, I took last Friday off, so we were unable to post our answers. To everyone’s delight, now I’m back, so let’s get to answering your questions.
We received a ton of great questions last week, ranging in topics such as how we sync our devices properly when we’re always changing daily drivers, if we ever get tired of blogging, if LG should drop the removable battery schtick, and if we were at all surprised by the NBA Finals outcome.
Let’s get to it!
Reminder: K is Kellen, T is Tim.
Since you are switching between phones all the time, what do you do to make sure all of your data is properly synced between devices?
K: I probably don’t do enough, but I basically just let Google do everything. When I fire up a new device, I then load up LastPass to allow me to quickly log into everything and that’s it. I don’t SMS, so I don’t need to back any of those up and move them. The majority of apps I use just sync everywhere, which is nice.
T: Interestingly enough, I don’t really think about that too much. When I link up my Google account on a new phone, everything I need basically comes with. Contacts, emails, and that’s about it. I have all of my photos on Google Photos, which handles that, but when it comes to app data, I’ve learned to just not care about it. However, many games I play have added in cloud saves, so that makes syncing very easy. The experience of setting up a new device has become so much better over the years. +1 for that, Google.
Nexus 5X or Moto X Pure Edition?
K: Nexus 5X at this point. Can’t beat the price, plus Google will support for another year and a half at least. Motorola has become the absolute worst at caring about its phones, so with the Moto X Pure Edition, you just don’t know what kind of support you are going to get. For example, the MXPE is still on Android 6.0, not even Android 6.0.1. It’s the single flagship from Moto from last year and they can’t even update it properly to a minor bug fixer.
T: For me, the customization options that are still available on the Moto X Pure Edition continues to win me over. Leather is, and always will be, way better than Google’s budget Nexus device. Sorry not sorry. Plus, both run nearly identical Android OS experiences.
Do you ever get tired of your job?
K: Oh, for sure. While this is one of the greatest jobs ever – playing with new tech all of the time and sharing thoughts on it – there are times when things just get slow. Like right now. There isn’t much going on as we anticipate Android N, new Nexus phones, the Note 7, and the Moto Z in August. We aren’t the type of site to fill up our feed with SEO spam and garbage how-to posts that we hope people search for, so it can get a bit slow.
T: Even if you have the best job in the world, there must be times that get slow, right? I love what I do and I take pride in the fact that I’ve gotten better at it over the years. Throughout certain times of the year, things can drag a little bit, but it pays off when companies drop tons of phones and there are lots of things to write. I usually refer to this period as the, “calm before the storm.” It’s probably one of the more exciting times for my job. Thankfully, Kellen and I have been working together for quite a few years now, so when sh*t hits the fan, we both can handle the work with straight ease.
NBA Finals Outcome: Expected or surprised?
K: Definitely not expected, and just a little surprised. I tried to remind everyone after game 2 that these are long series and two road game slaughterings aren’t the end. I will say that am super surprised at how LeBron responded after the Warriors talked all that trash about him. He’s not often a cold blooded killer like he was game 5, 6, and 7. Was nice to see someone stick it to the little entitled it kids of the moment who got a little ahead of themselves.
T: Not too surprising with all of the drama orbiting around Draymond. Dude plays with a lot of heart and brings that fire, so when we had to sit out Game 5, I pretty much saw Cleveland taking the title. There was a big momentum swing. Also, the fact that the Warriors appeared to be better than the ’96 Bulls (73 regular seasons wins), then losing in the Finals, really makes me happy. Maybe pundits can stop with the comparisons now.
If you had to relocate your home office to somewhere in the US, what would be your top three choices?
K: For convenient work reasons, New York. We miss a lot of small press gatherings because we just aren’t there like a lot of media. I’d consider my hometown of Whitefish, MT, as well because it’s so damn beautiful and I have family there, but flying in and out is just not cheap or easy at all. After those two, I’m not sure – maybe somewhere super warm, on a beach?
T: I would want somewhere remote and rural. Not a place off the grid by any means, but just somewhere that my dogs can run around free, no noisy neighbors, and no damn kids stepping on my lawn. To clarify, I’d shoot for wooded areas in Oregon/Washington, northern California, and maybe even north western Nevada. No matter what, it’s gotta be Pacific Northwest. Can’t leave this area.
Can you list your Top 3 bucket list items?
K: I’m not much of a bucket list guy. Honestly, this is the first time I’ve ever thought about it. My personality is the type that obsesses and schemes until it can accomplish something, so there isn’t this list of things I need or want to do. With that said, there are two things I really want to do in the next couple of years and they are: NCAA Final Four with my dad and a Kentucky whiskey tour with my brother.
T: I don’t personally keep a bucket list, as I sort of just take life as it comes. If there’s an opportunity for something, I go for it. If I had a list, though, it would probably consist of a worldwide eating/drinking tour, visiting my great grandfather’s homeland in Russia (or Poland, there is mixed documentation as to where my ancestors are from. Thanks, Ellis Island!), and maybe visiting a wolf sanctuary in Canada or something. That’d be sweet.
Which OEM do you think is up next to get bought/sold?
K: My first thought is HTC, but I just don’t think there is value there for anyone to want to buy them. They have little cash, don’t own a bunch of patents, and aren’t selling any phones nor do they have momentum. I’m not sure anyone would be a good fit to buy at this point.
T: I think we all just assume HTC, yeah? Only issue is that HTC brings little value to the table at this point, unless some company thinks Vive is worth a billion dollars, which to me, it is not.
Do you think LG should give up on having a removable battery?
K: Yes. It clearly limited their modular experience this year and just isn’t a big enough sell to keep around. Apple sells millions upon millions of phones and has never had the option. Samsung switched to non-removable and is back to selling record phones. I think few people really care about the ability to swap batteries. The people who complain, I think, are a loud minority.
T: While I would never suggest companies follow a certain trend, it does seem that there are much better ways to differentiate your product from others than by using a removable battery. I mean, Motorola has Moto Mods, Samsung has its design, and HTC has something, although, I’m not sure what. I guess they have BoomSound? My point is, LG’s step into modularity appears to be a underwhelming effort. If bringing a non-removable battery into the mix helps them in the design department, I say go for it.
What reason is there not to buy a OnePlus 3 if you’re still using one of last year’s flagships?
K: You don’t like big phones and you don’t trust them with software updates. Those are my two worries/issues.
T: Well, we do have new Nexus devices coming soon, and if you are on the fence, that should be your only reason. Nexus phones are always priced reasonably, will receive updates, and get support directly from Google. Can’t argue with any of that.
If you could choose, which OEM would you have make your “perfect” phone?
K: Huawei is making really great hardware right now, so they would be up there. I guess I would also like to see Google make a Pixel phone, where it’s 100% their design in hardware. The Pixel and Pixel C are fantastic looking devices. I’d love to see those in phone form.
T: Dang, after handling the P9 from Huawei, I’d be crazy not to say them. That phone feels so darn good in-hand. Too bad the software is a dumpster fire. For my dream phone, I choose you, Huawei. Oh, but keep your gimmicky dual-camera setup, please.
Is the bad-battery business (battery banks, charging cases, etc.) too lucrative for OEMs to really get behind upgrading battery tech?
K: I think battery tech is the problem. We haven’t had a major battery tech breakthrough in who knows how long and so we are stuck with ancient battery tech that hasn’t kept up with smartphone needs. I think if a company could say, “3-day battery life in our phone!” and it be true, they would do it in a heartbeat. For many, that would be the ultimate selling point.
T: It’s an election year, and seriously, not a single candidate has discussed the issue that plagues American consumers more than any other – crappy battery life. Make battery life great again! My flip phone lasted a week, damn it. It’s 2016 and I charge my phone every night. Houston, we have a problem. While Elon Musk is building rockets for Mars and what have you, I’ve been chained to the wall, waiting for my smartphone to charge up. In all seriousness, though, I don’t want quicker ways of charging. I want a battery that lasts more than 24 hours. Who knows, maybe one day we will have it.
Do you ever use VR at your own home for fun?
K: As the self-appointed VR hater of the world, I actually use it all of the time at home. I have an HTC Vive and have been enjoying the hell out of it. I’m basically the king of #SelfieTennis.
T: God no. More times than not, I exit VR experiences feeling sick, so I just don’t bother with it. Only time I haven’t felt sick was when I used HTC’s Vive, so until I have one of those, I’m sticking to real life and not virtual reality.
With Allo and Duo coming out (very soon), what do you think is the future of Hangouts?
K: Google says it isn’t going anywhere and I think I believe them. Allo requires a phone number for setup and Hangouts has a Google requirement. So they are two products whether they want to be or not because of the way you have to sign-up to use them. Hangouts is also a part of Google’s apps (like Gmail), which also means it’s a corporate messenger. Allo is a stand-alone chat app and that’s it.
T: Hangouts just works. It’s not awesome, but it’s not terrible. I use it everyday. It does what I need it to. Allo and Duo won’t be replacing it anytime soon. That’s not to say Google couldn’t improve upon it, but in reality, it’s a standard instant messaging platform that doesn’t really need to do much more than it already does. That’s just my belief, though.
To see all of our previous Q&A’s, check them out here.