Motorola has done many things right this year. The Moto X was an innovative phone that emphasized build quality and a handful of features - the opposite of Samsung's approach. The "Lazy Phone" ad campaign that accompanied it was humorous, informative, and memorable - something that can't be said for HTC's. The company has even released many of its exclusive apps into the Play Store to provide speedier updates, including the boring ones.
Now that the insane week of Google app updates has passed (gotta love those Rollout Wednesdays, right?), I've had some time to dig into the APKs and have found a number of interesting things in some of them.
We'll start with Gmail, which received a fairly significant Card UI update with version 4.6.
Ads are coming to Gmail
The most significant under-the-hood and probably not active yet addition to Gmail 4.6 is ads.
So the Moto X "Lazy Phone" ads are the best smartphone-related ones out right now. They're both funny and memorable, which is basically 90% of what a commercial really needs to be a success. The remaining 10% consists of reasons to choose one product over another. The original Lazy Phone videos showed how competitors' phones could ruin a romantic night, cause you to miss taking a photo of your child's stellar performance, or be the person whose phone won't stop buzzing during a meeting.
Motorola is rolling out its first ad for its upcoming Moto X tomorrow, one day before Americans kick off Independence Day celebrations. This is no coincidence. Motorola wants its Made-In-The-USA smartphone to stir patriotism in the hearts of consumers across the country. Yet that is just the beginning. Not only is the company pushing the Moto X as the first smartphone designed, engineered, and assembled in the USA, it's calling it the first smartphone that you can design yourself.
The HTC One is pretty great, and HTC has had no problem vividly illustrating its hardware features. Now they've moved on to the software in a pair of 30-second TV spots. The ads are all about BlinkFeed, HTC's proprietary social/news stream, and the centerpiece of the Sense 5 user interface. The commercials get right to the point, showing that other phones make you "dig" for information and content, while the mighty One with BlinkFeed puts everything you want right there on the home screen.
A lot of people are excited for Google Glass right now. The first Explorer units began rolling into the happy embrace of those selected for the exclusive pilot program just last week, and we've already seen a ton of feedback. Combined with decent pre-release coverage, it's clear that Glass has the potential to shake things up once more people have it in their hands. Of course press coverage and user excitement only form part of the story.
Raul Julia. That's what this Virgin Mobile ad makes me think of. I'll explain that later. First, the facts. If you're a T-Mobile customer, Virgin Mobile wants your business. So much so that it's willing to give you a $100 credit if you port your number over before May 31st. Straightforward, right? Cool. Now, here: Have an octopus.
Did you ever watch Mystery Science Theater 3000? If not, you should.
As we all know, Facebook had an announcement earlier this week. The most pervasive social media outlet on the planet announced Facebook Home – a product that essentially amounts to a highly integrated launcher for your Android phone. It also announced the HTC First, a phone optimized for Home, offering a fully Facebook-ed experience.
The launcher is actually pretty nice – features like the unfortunately-named Chat Heads are almost enough to sell this writer on the idea of making an Android hamburger out of a phone, with Facebook Home serving as the top bun (or maybe the lettuce).
There's a little over a week left until Game of Thrones season 3 arrives on HBO and Google wants to make sure you're entirely prepared. The trailer below depicts the machinations of a plot to overthrow enemies, mercilessly and without hesitation. We won't spoil it for you, so take a look at it and see if you can guess who's using the Play Store to take over Westeros (if not, the end will spoil it for you plenty).
I am vaguely aware of the iPad. I know that my Galaxy has Google stuff in it and my nerdy friend tells me about his Next Us that is cool. I am the target audience for this new ad for the Nexus 10. Why? Because my friend who reads tech blogs already knows about it and doesn't need to be convinced. I do. And you know what? It's doing a pretty good job of convincing me.