Motorola is demanding respect

Motorola has always been a great maker of phones. Remember back in the day, the original Razr? It was small, thin, and everyone wanted one.  Well fast forward a few years and the original Motorola Droid surfaced on Verizon and brought Android to the mainstream.  They have managed to stay well known among Verizon users with their crazy long life Droid Maxx phones, but for the rest of the carriers they have been quite silent.  Last year they came out with the Moto X (my current phone) and the Moto G, which for their respective classes did well, but they were no HTC One, or GS4 sales threat.  The G was meant to be a budget phone, and while the X was higher end, it was missing the specs on paper.  Not this year!

This year Motorola has decided to once again take a different approach than the Samsung, HTC, and Apple camps and make a silent release strictly to the press. While that left a LOT of users unhappy and complaining  It allowed the press time to play, get hands on, and come up with honest results about the devices to report the following morning (today).  Then after the public has time to digest it all, Motorola is putting on a LIVE Google Hangout to answer questions anyone else may have about them.

You can watch live via YouTube here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1ne0Li7hvs

 

Or join the Hangout here – https://plus.google.com/events/c04aaqgipehkadbje7tjp0vef48

Android

GDG-Toledo AndroidWear Survey

 

After holding the first Toledo Google Developer Group  (GDG Toledo) meeting, we have decided we need input from our followers on what app we should concentrate on during our next months coding meeting. Right now our focus is on making apps that are designed to function well with the upcoming Android Wearables.  For those of you who do not know what Android Wear is, I will give you a brief non-techy description. (For the full technical answer and a very short descriptive video, visit http://www.android.com/wear/) Right now, the most talked about wearable is the upcoming Moto 360 watch with the round watch face.  As it stands, alerts that show up on your phone in the notification drawer will show up on the wearable and can be dismissed, or responded to on either. Example, you receive a text, the watch alerts you, and you can respond by speaking your reply directly to the watch without ever having to pull your phone out of your pocket, purse, or bag and then continue on with whatever you were doing in the real world.

 

So our request to you is for ideas.  We need ideas in order to create the next great app that lets you be connected to the virtual world and present in the real world.  We would like you to tell us something you feel would help you connect while staying present. A quick glance application like being notified when you need to leave the house to make your flight. Or being alerted when concert tickets go on sale nearby for your favorite band.  Please feel free to comment below or on whatever social networking site you followed to get here.

Android

BlackBerry and Nokia should entertain Android

I read in an article recently on Phone Arena that it would be a mistake for BlackBerry or Nokia to switch to Android.  As most of you know, we totally believe competition is good so I was curious as to the reasons why the author would make such a post.  Would it be because it would end competition? Is it because Google is really evil after all? Nope, it was because, Nokia is doing fine, and there is no way for BlackBerry to make money.

After reading the article I could not help but take to the old blogosphere and voice my opinions on the matter.  In his first paragraph he makes the most sense of the article.

“On the surface, it would seem to make sense. Android, after all, is the top smartphone OS globally. With Windows Phone 8 and the new BlackBerry 10 platforms struggling, why not go with the leader?”

With an argument like that, I could not wait to see his reasons as to why they should not.  Then suddenly he took a turn that I am still at a loss trying to understand. He feels that since Nokia has “found their niche” with their cameras on their phones, they should just stick with Windows and let them market it like mad.  I agree that they have the most impressive phones in the smart phone world right now, but that is all hardware.  Just in case some people have forgotten, Nokia used to make their own phone OS as well.  If it was only hardware that mattered, they would still be making Symbian based smartphones and using their 41 megapixel cameras in them.  Nokia previously had THE MOST POPULAR OS IN THE WORLD until 2010 when Android overtook that spot.  Think on that for just a moment. I have seen some of the Windows Phones made by Nokia. They are aesthetically beautiful! The curves, the weight, the cameras are amazing, and yet I do not have any intention of purchasing one.  After all, I want my smart phone to be more than just a good looking camera.  With that in mind though, if I took a poll right now asking how many Android users would purchase a Nokia made Android phone, given the way they stack their hardware, I would bet 99%+ would be all over it. A pure stock Android Nokia phone. Boom!

Along those lines though, hardware and pricing are what makes or breaks Android devices.  Yes Samsung has added all sorts of gimmicks and tricks and some outright useful things to their phones to make them stand out. But in the end, they also have the hardware to put them at the top of the pile.  The HTC One has been voted one of the best Android handsets this year and it is selling better than anything that they have put out in a long time.  The difference? Less “Sense” overlay and much better hardware.  If they worked with Google as closely as they do with Microsoft and updated their phones faster than other hardware manufacturers they would knock Samsung right off the block.

BlackBerry? They once ruled the business enterprise phone category.  You knew you had finally reached a certain level in management when you were given a company BlackBerry, or you were able to put your personal BlackBerry on the company BES. They had the keyboards that made other phones feel like ancient typewriters. They were sleek, efficient, and pocketable.  They were last generation.  Todays phones are keyboardless, larger screen, multifunctional devices.  By the time BlackBerry (blame RIM) made the move to touch screen it was almost too late.  By the time they did it correctly, it was far too late.  Somewhere out there, there are people who still would like an Android phone with a keyboard.  There is a large crowd out there that would like an Android phone with BlackBerry style enterprise security and operability.  Just having the name BlackBerry on an Android phone would put quite a few white collar people at ease with the BYOD movement (even if it was actual no more secure than any other Android phone that people bring into the company).

This is a new generation of users and the old names do not mean a thing to them. You have to stand out with a product in this day and age instead of relying on your previous name to bring recognition and brand loyalty.  If they want that back, they have to adapt.  I am not suggesting they abandon all hope and focus solely on Android, but I would suggest dipping a toe in the pool.  Take a page from Samsungs book and play the Android game while continuing to do your own thing as well.  I honestly do not know if it is too late for BlackBerry, but I do know without a doubt that Nokia joining the Android camp would cause HTC, LG and even Samsung to rush to the drawing board to try to come up with something to make them more relevant.

Android, Microsoft, Nokia

Pre-Paid Wireless, Deal or No Deal?

In the US there has been a lot more prepaid wireless than I have ever seen. The big four (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile) have been working to maintain control of the majority of the cellular customers, but the MVNO’s (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) have been working just as hard to gain your business as well.  Even though they are actually just reselling the same network that the major operators are pushing to us, they are doing it for less.  Most of the time those prices do not include the 4G LTE service that many are finding hard to live without, but with their plans being up to a third of the cost, it is something people are living with happily.  We are looking at trying the StraightTalk wireless route (the AT&T side of it) to see just how their service stacks up to paying full price.  If anyone has any experience with any of the pre-paid carriers please feel free to leave your comments down below.

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon

Google I/O 2013

Android, Google

Glass and the X-Phone

As you all know, I try my best to keep everyone informed of what’s new and upcoming in the world of technology with an emphasis on Google’s roll.  Well The Verge’s Joshua Topolsky wrote a review of his experience with Google Glass.  The technology of course looks great, but can easily be seen as just an expensive hands free cell phone.  The implications of being able to have notifications coming up hands free and without the need to pull up a phone could be quite (for lack of better words…) handy.  But again, at the initial $1500 price you would expect more than weather, GPS and an ever-ready camera.  Then Joshua mentioned “The device gets data through Wi-Fi on its own, or it can tether via Bluetooth to an Android device or iPhone and use its 3G or 4G data while out and about. There’s no cellular radio in Glass, but it does have a GPS chip.”

Taken on it’s own, that is good news. You don’t have to worry about paying an additional data plan for your eye wear. But if you take that statement and couple it with the reports all around the Internet that the X-Phone, a product of Google and their aquired Motorola hardware arm, will have software that will reportedly be very powerful and capable of pulling together Google services “like no other manufacturer has done in the past.”  The news of the X-Phone pairing with a Google Glass device suddenly becomes a very interesting prospect.  People have speculated that the statement can mean anything from the latest Android OS (which will be Key Lime Pie), to the merging of Chrome and Android on the device.  I am seeing it as a special touch of software designed to accent the abilities of Google Glass.  (Again I have to place emphasis that this is speculation.)

My reasoning is simple. Google Glass is one of the many projects that has come out of Google’s secret lab. (The self driving automobile is another one of the well known, now highly visible projects.) The name of that secret lab is Google X Lab, or sometimes simply called Google X.  We all know that Google collaborates with a company each year to product a Nexus phone to show off exactly what the base version of their new OS can do.  Google, being a smart company, realizes that using their newly purchased hardware company (Motorola) to product this years Nexus would be frowned upon by all of the other manufacturers that develop Android phones.  But yet, why buy a hardware company if you aren’t going to do something special with it right?  Motorola wasn’t purchased just for patents alone.  So while someone (HTC anyone?) is making this years Nexus device, Google will be showcasing their X-Phone.  It will not be stock Android even though many would like it to be. That will be reserved for the Nexus.  The X-Phone will be more Google than any other Android device before it, and come along with an easy (NFC possibly) pairing mode for Google Glass.  And as always, we are one step closer to a Google  telcom service to activate the phone on.  Be ready Kansas, you might be first!

Android, Google, Mobile Devices

Nokia, join us. We have sweets!

The Nokia Lumia 920

Nokia Lumia 920

+Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, hopefully one of your PR guys will stumble upon this post and get it to you in time. You are fighting valiantly to keep your company afloat. For that I give you props and a firm pat on the back. But don’t waste all of that effort and talent on a proposition that is not going to get you where you need to be.  Your hardware has always been fantastic. The Lumia 920 is a purely amazing phone.  If Steve Jobs were still around he might even have to call it “magical.”  It’s a work of art (a bit on the heavy side, but still a work of art.)  The price is just about right off contract, and the rumored successor for the 920 is promised to be even thinner and lighter.  So why isn’t Nokia the household name that it should be?  There are three reasons.

 

I. Samsung (which has become the dominate face of Android with the Galaxy S III) and Apple (with the equally dominating iPhone line up) make it very difficult for someone else to grab a spot of the lime light.  Even a quality phone like the Lumia 920 will hardly grab headlines with the common cell phone user when the marketing of the two behemoths of Samsung and Apple are at work.

II. The Lumia 920 is currently exclusive to AT&T.  Even though AT&T is a large provider in the US, it isn’t the only provider.  When you start excluding your potential user base, you can not expect your sales to reach their best.  The time of a phone on a single carrier has come and gone.

III. The most important part of this… Nokia has currently placed all of their eggs in one basket. Namely the Windows Phone OS.  On its own it is a very well done OS. It has a lot of nice features and a ton of potential.  Unfortunately it is a world class sprinter starting two hours late in a marathon.  It might put on a little burst of speed, but this isn’t the winning lap.

Nokia just needs to take the money that Microsoft has given them and invest some time and effort into marrying their hardware and cameras with Android software.  It is well known that Google would greet them with open arms and, non-factual based prediction here, would immediately sign Nokia up to produce the next Nexus phone.  I also feel I speak for the majority of Android fanatics when I say that they would be the best selling Nexus device to date.  I can immediately think of 20 people who would purchase them outright without waiting for their contract to expire.  The year that Nokia decides Android is the way to go will be the year that they fully begin their swing back into relevance.

Android, Mobile Devices, Nokia