writing about tech

Tag: nexus

Google just murdered the Nexus line for me

The Nexus 6 was announced today, and it’s almost everything I want in a phone.  It’s got a huge screen (something I’m still not sure about, but want to try using), a huge battery, a camera with OIS, wireless charging, and stock Android directly from Google.  Shut up and take m–wait, how much do you want for it?  $650 off-contract?  Google, why?

To be fair, all major US carriers are carrying the Nexus 6, at a subsidized price, so it could actually end up being the best selling Nexus…but not for people like me.  This goes against my core reasons for loving the Nexus line, which is freedom from carriers at a reasonable cost. Now, I can either cough up $650, or buy it subsidized through a carrier – something I never wanted to do ever again. I suppose it’d be tolerable to do so, but if – and only if – the carriers have absolutely no control over the software or the release of software updates.

Either way, I’m suddenly way more interested to see what OnePlus brings out next year. Hell, at this point, even the Z3 Compact is $100 cheaper unlocked and off-contract than the Nexus 6.  For now, it seems my Nexus 5 is in no danger of being replaced anytime soon.

PSA: If you downloaded iOS 8.0.1, here’s a fix for your issues

In case you haven’t heard, you probably shouldn’t have download iOS 8.0.1.  Fortunately, it’s already been taken down, so you can’t download it now on accident – but if you already downloaded it, The Verge has a great guide to fixing your issues:

Apple’s already said it’s investigating the issue, but if you’re one of the unlucky souls who downloaded and installed it, there’s a simple trick (via iMore) for getting your phone back up and running, without wiping anything.

Unfortunately, it requires iTunes, but you gotta do watcha gotta do.

I’m starting to understand why Google rolls out updates to their Nexus phones over the course of a few days, that way, any major issues like this are immediately discovered and the damage is contained.

You know, as opposed to potentially breaking 10 million phones.

Android update times are better, but still far from good

Ars has a great piece up about Android update times:

The winner for update times is, of course, the Nexus line. Stock software and a head start from being Google got KitKat out the door in just 14 days.

The bottom-line continues to be: If you care about Android updates, just buy a Nexus phone. Otherwise you’re looking at two major obstacles between you and a software update – the OEM and the carrier – and that’s assuming the OEM even cares enough to update their software.  Carriers continue to have far too much influence on the phones people buy from them, and it’s hard for me to envision a scenario where I’d ever be happy buying an Android phone directly from a carrier ever again.

Choosing, or losing, my religion

There’s been a lot of talk about how the ecosystem wars are heading up; walls are getting taller and moats are getting deeper, as both Apple and Google work to ensure you invest so heavily in their products and services that leaving becomes an overly-painful proposition.  The question was posed on The Verge’s forums:

I’ve been an Apple guy thus far. But I am waiting to see what comes out of the Moto 360, Nexus 6 and Android Silver launch later this year. We all pretty much know what iPhone 6, iOS 8 and OSX is bringing to the table, so no mystery there.

If I don’t switch from Apple now, I am not sure I ever will, so I want to give Android a serious look before making the decision. I want to wait till December and see how things shake out in the platform wars.

Anybody else taking the wait and watch approach before making their next big tech purchase – smart phone, tablet, smart watch etc.?

With all of this going on, I’ve been pondering just how invested I am in my current daily driver setup.  I know I have absolutely no desire to use anything but OS X on my primary computing device – everything else is certainly up for grabs, though. This year I’ll probably continue to coast with the Nexus 5 and 7, unless this year’s iPad refresh is truly remarkable. I love iPad hardware, and iOS is…fine, but I just can’t justify $400-500 for something that’s a luxury for me at best. I need a PC, and I need a smartphone…but my tablet use cases are generally limited to “electronic reader and light gaming machine”, and the Nexus 7 is perfectly adequate for that. Of course, I occasionally find myself tempted by the fairly impressive iPad-exclusive tablet game line-up, FTL being a high-profile example. Since price is my primary concern, maybe I’ll look into a used retina Mini at some point.

Phone-wise, I’m really reluctant to buy any more OEM or carrier phones, which at this point limits me to basically Nexus devices, an iPhone, or a Windows Phone. Only Nexus devices satisfy my desire to own a phone at a reasonable price, though; if I get an iPhone or a Windows Phone on contract, then I feel like I’m just renting my device from the carrier. Still, depending on how compelling 2015’s hardware is, I could certainly see myself moving off of Android.

That’s 2015, though – after my bump from an HTC One to a Nexus 5, this year is basically a mobile tech holding pattern, with the possible exception of the Moto 360 – which, of course, would further invest me in the Android world.  Either way, the next couple of years are going to be pretty exciting, and there’s some small comfort in knowing that it’ll be pretty hard to go wrong, regardless of what side you end up coming down on.

The devil’s in the details

I recently replied to this post on The Verge, and I think my response is worth sharing as it sums up my current view on status of mobile tech, at least as it pertains to Android and iOS.

For the past couple years I’ve owned the 3 last Nexus devices: the Galaxy, the 4 and the 5. Each one got better than the last. Before that, I had a various smattering of iPhones, Blackberries, Sony Ericsson devices, Nokias. But, being the finicky bugger that I am, the other day I randomly decided to buy an iPhone 5S.

In any instance there’s a tiny bit of give and take on both ends and overall they probably just average out to being “Holy shit, both of these phones are pretty damn good and basically do everything I need them to do within reason.”

TL;DR: The platform war is over. Everything is beige.

I couldn’t agree more, especially with iOS8 bringing a lot of the features I’ve enjoyed on Android to the iPhone. It’s becoming less and less about what’s better, but about the small details and which of those details matters most to the individual user. For me, it’s come down to a few key things:

  1. I actually really love wireless charging, though I understand why others don’t care about it. Now that I’ve had it, though, the sheer convenience factor is something that’s hard to overlook.
  2. I prefer a larger device – 4.5-5 inches – to a smaller device.
  3. I want full control of my phone, at least where carrier crap is concerned. Don’t give me your shitty software, or your ridiculous restrictions on how I can use the data that I am paying you for. The Nexus 5 is the purest form of that, but the iPhone is the next best thing. I find it incredibly unlikely my next phone will be something besides a Nexus or an iPhone.

The thing is, none of these are deal breakers – they’re small details, but they’ve become important to me in a world where everything else is basically equal.

Daily Drivers Update, 6/22/2014

As part of this blog, I am going to keep an up-to-date list of all the devices I currently use as daily drivers.  That list can be found here. Devices added:

  • Nexus 5
  • Nexus 7
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display (Late 2013)
  • Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 II
  • FitBit One, Pebble Smartwatch

Devices removed: None.

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