Probably my favorite part of covering a major new device isn't the long-form review. It's not the "hands-on," and it's certainly not the gratuitous unboxing videos. It's not the page-view whoring "drop test" — spoiler: phones break when you drop them — and it's not battery tests that in no way reflect real-life use. No, for me where things really get fun are when we start to break down a phone feature by feature, explaining them in even more detail than we do in reviews.
We do it this way for a number of reasons. One of them is "space." Our HTC One M8 review weighed in at 6,000 words. (In the newspaper world I came from, stories were measured by length in column inches. I'd joke, badly, that really long stories had to be measured in pounds.) It simply becomes too unwieldy to go into great depth about every feature that needs to be explored for any phone. So, we break things out into separate stories. Volumes of reference material, if you will.
A side-effect of this is that anytime a new phone launches, there's a deluge of stories on that one device. It's happened before, it's happening now with the HTC One M8, and it'll happen again — in two weeks, in fact, when the Samsung Galaxy S5 goes on sale. It'll happen again later this year with new fare from Motorola and LG and, we presume, new Nexus tablets and phones.
That doesn't mean we've abandoned the news, which is what brings the hard-core audience back day after day. In fact, we're better positioned to be both a news source and reference desk than we've ever been. And you're starting to see the fruits of that labor. We've reworked our back-end to make it quicker and easier for us to do quick, easy stories that might not need more than a few sentences, freeing up more time (and head space) for more important pieces. And you're going to start seeing some new bylines here at and the other Mobile Nations sites, as we make it easier for the writers on all our sites to pitch in on the news — as well as educate themselves on platforms that might not be their daily driver.
More short-lived (but still important) news. More long-term (and even more important) reference content. Grow, or die.
And that's just the start of some really exciting changes this year. Thanks for coming along for the ride.
A few other thoughts on the week that was:
- I almost hate to admit it, but I really enjoy how the Facebook app is displaying images and previewing videos now.
- You gotta love how more manufacturers are offloading apps to Google Play, so that they can be updated without full system updates. We'll have to see how much of that Samsung does, or how much it does out of its own app store.
- I have to RMA my Pebble Steel this week. I'll switch back to the original while I wait for the new one to arrive — but I have a feeling I'm not going to like the change.
- I do miss the size and feel of the Moto X. And the Active Display. I don't miss the camera.
- Interesting story on the mandating of "Powered by Android" on boot screens now. I wonder if it'll be added to the Verizon HTC One in a future update. (And why it's not there already, given that we first saw it on the Galaxy S5 a month ago.)
- Seriously, this is a really good, cheap speaker.
- Cosmos is so good. Even better is that my 7-year-old daughter is enjoying it, too.
That's it for this week. So much to do, so little time.