Phil is away on a much-needed break from being the Editor-in-Chief of the biggest and baddest Android site in the universe, and I get to sit in his chair for a day or two. I'm trying not to click all the things, or replace all the pictures with cat gifs, and in the meantime I wanted to share a few thoughts I've had over the week.
It's been a pretty big (pun intended) week in the world of Android, with the Galaxy Note 4 becoming officially official, and the avalanche of Nexus and Lollipop we got in the middle of it all. In fact, a new version of the OS and the release of something new from Samsung are a couple of the biggest things that can happen in the Android world, period.
We'll start with Samsung and the Note 4. We realize that the review was quickly buried once the news fountain got turned on in Mountain View. In fact, we questioned the time and date Samsung provided (inside baseball — they get to decide when reviews can be posted and when they can't) knowing that we were due for the Nexus flood that happened a few hours later. None of this means we don't realize just how big (hah! OK, I'll stop) and important the Note 4 release is. In the bigger scheme of things, a new Note 4 is more important for us — and for Android — than any new Nexus devices, no matter how fancy they may be. We'll keep writing about the Note 4, and some of you will get snarky and mention that we write too much about it. You can't please everyone ...
Speaking of that Note 4 review, I was impressed — both with the device and with Andrew. In my opinion, Alex writes the best device reviews you'll find on the Internet. It's apparent that this is rubbing off on the rest of us, because Andrew knocked it right out of the park. I know I speak for the rest of of when I say "Great job, Andrew. You done good." I'm proud to work with all these guys, and I love seeing how we all grow and become better at what we do.
I'm itching to get a Note 4 here to play with. Seems like everything good about the Note 3 was kept, and put behind a better screen and in a more "elegant" package. I realize that Touchwiz isn't for everyone. In fact, it's not exactly my cup of tea, either. But Samsung is taking the polish to every little bit of it, and I love seeing them inch towards perfection. Well done, Samsung. And so far, I like what I'm hearing from the folks who already have the Note 4 in their hands. My interest keeps growing in this one.
On to the Android and Nexus news. I'll toot my own horn a bit and say we did a hell of a job covering everything there was to cover from Google last week, and I'm glad that Phil was able to sit on the sidelines for this one. My confidence in our team here at AC was boosted — not that it really needed any boosting — as we each did the things we're best at and delivered. Knowing that Phil only had to read and smile makes it even better. Phil is a friend as well as a boss to all of us here, and it's nice seeing him able to relax a little bit with Mrs. Phil. But we'll be glad when he is back Monday.
Lollipop sure is looking good, isn't it? It took a while, but Google has finally found a real design standard with Android 5.0 and Material Design, and even if you hate the look — yes, we know not everyone is thrilled — you have to admit everything fits together nicely. I've said it before, and I'll say it again — cherry pick the best things you see from the competition and make it your own. When that happens, we users reap the most benefit.
The devices have people a little more divided. The Nexus 6 is going to be too big for some people. It's also going to be too expensive for some people. We get that. There's nothing we can do about either, and this is what Google has given us. Seeing the carrier mentions in the announcement was a bit of a surprise, and even though I got wind of it a little early I didn't quite believe it until I actually saw it. The Verizon version is going to be fun, but the biggest news is US Cellular. Someone, somewhere, is serious about making the Nexus 6 a success — and they wrangled up some sort of agreements with the top five carriers in the U.S. to try and make it happen. This won't help the price any — carriers aren't going to want Google beating their pricing by a large amount — but it is a conduit to get a Nexus in more hands. That's Google's end-game. More devices in more hands means more people on the Internet seeing more Google ads. Google may or may not really love us, but they know how to make money.
The Nexus 9 has me pretty excited. I'm not feeling the switch to a 4:3 aspect ratio, even if I understand that it makes some things better. It just doesn't make my things better. I'll deal with it, though. What has me really excited is the new processor. NVIDIA has had some hits and some misses in the Android world. I'm thinking this one will be one of the hits. Part of me doesn't want to see Android in a situation where the horsepower in the new TK1-64 is needed, but another part of me wants to see how far developers can go with it and take advantage of it all. This is going to be a fun ride.
What I'm most excited for is the Nexus Player. I've always been a huge Google TV fan, and even though it's a dead platform it is one I use every day. Looking at my use case, the parts of Google TV I enjoy — apps like Play Music or Play Movies — should be better on Android TV and the addition of games and a gaming controller should send things over the top. Will Android TV replace my PlayStation? I don't think so. But with my content locked into Google for music and video, it's sure to see some use. Now to wait a month for them to ship.
One last thing before I wrap this up. I pre-ordered a Sony Xperia Z3 Compact the other day. A hot little lime green one. I have always said that when Sony gets Android phones on their web store — unlocked and still relevant — I'll buy them. It's time to put my money where my mouth is. I'm looking forward to it getting here early next month, and have a feeling my new Moto X is going to have some serious competition. And there's that whole Destiny on the loo thing ....
And with that, I'm out. Was nice talking to you guys and gals like this, but I'm ready to give Phil a big 'ole welcome home hug when he gets back.