As it's getting close to Nexus season, the rumors about Google's next phone are really starting to pile up. As are the leaks. And at this point, it can be really fun to hop on the speculation express to conclusion town. Dare I say, it's understandable. Even "Nexus 5" - a name that has been confirmed (even circumstantially) exactly zero times - seems to be such a concrete fact now that you'd have to be a moron not to believe that's what the next Nexus is going to be called, right?
If you're a dedicated follower of tech news, you've probably heard the big story from late last night: Microsoft is buying Nokia. Holy cow, Redmond has an end-to-end distribution model! This could finally make Windows Phone a competitor! The phone and tablet market is getting its first major shakeup since the rise of Android!
Well, yes, and then again no. While it's true that the upcoming acquisition is a huge deal for Microsoft, and an even bigger deal for Nokia and anyone who's invested in the company (either in a monetary sense or as a customer), I can't see it having a huge impact on Android.
Android devices are getting more powerful by the month. In just a short period of time, mobile gamers are no longer content to fill their time with ports of desktop flash games, or even decade-old Grand Theft Auto titles, and have come to expect 3D spin-offs that look somewhat convincingly like their PC equivalents. This is great, but there's a catch - it won't come free. If gamers want better games to come to mobile platforms, they're going to have to stop their moaning and buy the games as they come out.
Late last night, AT&T began promoting its new "Next" smartphone upgrade plan in earnest. And earlier yesterday, a leaked training document revealed Verizon's "Edge" upgrade plan. Both are very obvious four-letter copies of T-Mobile's new Jump plan. Let me give you the breakdown on these Jump competitors as quickly as I can.
AT&T will allow you to finance (0% interest, no down payment, no finance charges) a phone for 20 months, pay it off monthly, and after 12 months of payments, will let you trade it in and start financing a new phone, and remaining payments on the old phone will be forgiven.
In a turn of events that no one could have predicted, Google introduced, in partnership with HTC and Samsung, two versions of highly anticipated and desirable phones that are stripped of their manufacturer skins entirely and are devoted purely to stock Android. Equally unpredictably, this created a chasm in the Android community as the Nexus Warriors took up arms against the mudblood HTC One and Galaxy S4.
There were no survivors.
I have to admit, if you were to tell me one year ago today that devices like the Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play edition would exist as things, I'd call you a liar. And I'd probably secretly hope that they did exist, too. These handsets, or really, the idea behind them, have been the enduring dream of almost every Android enthusiast from the early days of MOTOBLUR and TouchWiz.
Peer-to-peer fund transfers using an online service are nothing new – Paypal's been successfully doing it for years, and that's how AP writers have been getting paid since the site was launched. Needless to say, when Google announced payments through Gmail (which uses Wallet), it seemed like a no-brainer – we all have Google accounts, so this would be an ideal way to get paid.
Wrong. Getting paid through Wallet has been the absolute worst experience I've ever had with a money transfer, and I'm not alone here – this has been an incredibly frustrating experience for at least half of our team.
NVIDIA SHIELD, the company's first in-house built device, is officially available for pre-order for $350. And no sooner than the announcement was made, the "this is too expensive!" comments started showing up. I want to explain why I think that line of thinking is not only unfair, but also illogical.
The issue with SHIELD, in my opinion, isn't actually with SHIELD itself but rather the way people are perceiving it.
CTIA is, supposedly, the largest tech convention focused on mobile in the United States. In fact, it has generally been one of Verizon and Sprint's favored handset launch venues in recent years. The EVO 4G was announced at CTIA. So was the EVO 3D. The Galaxy Tab 8.9. The DROID Incredible 4G. Even last year's relatively low-key show brought a few noteworthy nuggets.
This year, though, is a wasteland.
Hey Sony. It's been a while since I last ranted about how you're kinda-sorta screwing up that whole smartphone business of yours. In fact, it's been almost a year to the day. I had really hoped that by this year everyone's favorite Japanese electronics mega-corporation would have figured out the smartphone market to a reasonable extent in the US, but surprise: they haven't!
I really don't mean to single out Sony, but sometimes, it's very difficult to watch a company that is very clearly capable of making good products make such terrible decisions.