Android Central

Welcome, ladies and germs, to Android Central v3.0.

What you see before you here is the third major iteration of the design of the best damn Android website in the world, bar none. Born of some incredible designers and coders, alongside the news people you know and trust and the forums administrators, advisers and moderators who guide you through the Android world 365 days a year, this is, I can say without hesitation, the best version of Android Central yet.

What's new? We've got the full changelog in the forums. (And, frankly, with the pace at which we're working, it's likely to be slightly out of date by the time you read this. We don't sleep much.) The short version is a cleaner design in the forums and blogs, and more options on the front page.

We've been experimenting with a couple homepage views for a while now. One is the traditional blog view. Big images and stories that might be short, or might take you a few thousand words deep. The other is a headline view that shows you the latest information at a glance. (It actually takes me back to the old days of reading the Associated Press wire for hours on end, with only timestamps, category codes and story slugs to guide me.) If you're an RSS junkie, this is the view for you. (But don't worry, our traditional RSS feeds are still there, too.)

Android Central

The Headlines bar is your portal to customizing the news the way you want to receive it. Just want tablet news? Hit the button, and that's all you'll see. Only want to see the latest news and reviews on apps? There's a button for that, too. On the right-hand side is where you'll find the buttons for full blog and headline views. And the "Latest Discussions" tab brings you the latest forum threads, which is where the real action is. Members helping members. Q&A sessions. You name it, it's in the forums.

The best part, however, is that we're not done. Not by a long shot. We can still do better, and we will do better. (Be sure to leave your feedback on this post, and in the forums.)And it'll all happen with you all, the Android Central members, leading the way. So from all of us here at AC, from the writers to the designers to the coders to the mods and admins and advisers, thanks for being here. Thanks for pushing us to do better every day. This one's for you.

And with that, on to the news. ...

Frequencies

A funny thing happens when you spend a couple days locked in a meeting room with brilliant people -- you tend to come away a little bit smarter yourself. As you might have seen, I and a number of journalists whose work you also read (and if you don't, you damn well should) had a couple days of meetings with HTC in Seattle. Some of it was on the record, some of it was off the record. Some of it was HTC giving us a better idea of how it does things (and, in turn, we also have a better understanding of how other manufacturers likely go about making smartphones), and a lot of it was us telling HTC how we think it should do things. The conversations were candid and extremely interesting. Don't expect a list of bullet points of juicy things we saw. But if you ask me a question, you'll likely get a more-informed answer now, and not just regarding HTC products.)

In the interest of full disclosure, I was there on HTC's dime. That's something I rarely do, as our company's bookkeepers can easily attest to. (O hai last-minute trip to London for a Samsung event.) But for all the knowledge that HTC shared with us about how -- and more important, why -- it does some of the things it does, just as exciting was that I was able to take all your questions and concerns about the new HTC One line and Sense 4 and give some of that feedback directly to some of the people who make the devices. If you haven't been in our HTC forums lately, you've been missing out. (And you're certainly going to miss out now.)

We weren't under total lockdown. Tweets were flowing when they could, and a couple posts came out of the event. But most important was getting to hear from some brilliant minds who make and report on devices and software we all use every day.

Samsung in London

So, yeah. Alex Dobie and I will be at the Samsung event on May 3 in London. (It'll be my first time in the UK, actually.) Samsung's only promising we'll see "The Next Galaxy." It wouldn't surprise me if Galaxy S III or Galaxy S3 isn't actually the name. (And truth be told, I'd be just fine with that.)

The latest leaks are fun, but again, I'm 99 percent sure they're not actually what will be unveiled. (And, again, getting to see but a few of the steps in the birth of a smartphone this week is going to make me even more skeptical of leaks going forward.)

The hardware's bound to be pretty good, right? It's certain to have some serious specs. (And remember that it's more than likely to change somewhat in the hands on the U.S. carriers.) I think I'm more interested to see what's in store on the software side. I've made no secrets about being pretty happy with how HTC's Sense 4 does a nice job of working with Ice Cream Sandwich instead of replacing it. Will Samsung do the same? (And for that matter, will Motorola in its next generation of phones? And what about LG?) I really do enjoy using stock Ice Cream Sandwich. I don't want Samsung to replace it. Augment and improve? Sure. But not replace.

We'll find out in a week and a half.

The Sprint Galaxy Nexus

FINALLY! Dunno what the holdup was (probably gnashing of teeth over the LTE network, or maybe a four-month exclusive for Verizon), but Sprint's finally released this thing.

There's been a lot of talk in the forums about whether the Galaxy Nexus is still worth it on Sprint, or whether the EVO 4G LTE is the hottest phone now. It really depends on what you're getting it for, I think. I still contend that 4.7 inches of Super LCD 2 beats 4.7 inches of Super AMOLED Plus (both are 720x1280 resolution). I'm digging Sense 4. But if you want a more stock experience without hacking, the GNex would be the way to go. (I also still contend that Sense 4 actually improves on the stock experience.)

Another caveat, though. If you're worried about having the "latest" version of Android, remember that consistent version numbers no longer are an absolute on the Galaxy Nexus. So one may hop ahead of another. Or ahead of the EVO 4G LTE. Or whatever. That one's a fallacy now, too. (Though somehow I have a feeling I'll be repeating this once or twice.)


That's it for now. We've got a busy couple of weeks ahead of us, with London for Samsung, and the CTIA conference in New Orleans just a few days after that. Stick around. This is gonna get good.

 
There are 35 comments

benthe1 says:

Looks good. When are you guys getting Disqus? Just kidding. Your commenting system is actually pretty good. As long as you never use Facebook's commenting system.

Chris says:

I wouldn't mind seeing Disqus. Looks like they got rid of comment rating on here. :/

The comment rating system on the old template wasn't actually working properly, so we scrapped it for the time being. It'll be back in a future release, along with more features.

In the meantime, we did add a new feature to the comments. We're now showing avatars for commenters, and both the avatar and username are clickable and take you to a user page that links back to recent article comments and forum posts.

Re: Disqus. We tested Disqus on our sibling iOS site iMore, with plans to roll out it out here too. Unfortunately Disqus didn't work as well as we were hoping and we ultimately removed it from that site, so for the time being are going to keep improving our native commenting system here. That said, we always want whatever is best for the site so we'll continue to explore all options.

Chris says:

Sounds good to me, CrackBerry Kevin!

a reddit style comment system would be nice, where the most up voted comments bubble to the top, at each branch level.

15israellai says:

I rather liked the rating system. At least it could help me skip some trolling comments really quickly.

johncblandii says:

The Good
- I like the Verge'sque styling. That's a good look.

The Bad
- 6 ads on a page
- A terribly cluttered sidebar.

glazedfaith says:

I was about to ask what happened to the main logo and bar at the top.

Gone24 says:

Love the new look! Good Job guys!

mr nruz says:

Looks good

dil8ed says:

Nice look!

The galaxy nexus doesn't have a super amoled plus screen. I'm looking forward to seeing how the next galaxy's screen compares to the the one x's screen, assuming it is a super amoled plus.

Jayshmay says:

What about reply notifications?

On the list of to dos!

Derek1267 says:

Kinda off topic but is there word on the new app? Or was the forums app the only one to be released?

DrDoppio says:

I like the new look, cleaner and more compact. The mobile version has a few quirks, I'm sure they'll be ironed out soon.

tronthedon says:

I'm diggin' the cleaner look. Nice job :)

Now can you please do the following?

1) Make a new rating system that isn't retarded? (Yes, I'm talking about 2 out of 3 stars being the "disagree" rating. Where is the logic in that??).

2) I know the site needs to make money, but are 2 sections for shopandroid.com necessary when they're both at the top?

3) Again, get rid of 1 of the 2 redundant sections for headlines. The right side bar has them, even though they're already listed in the bottom black superbar also.

4) As someone already mentioned, a comment reply notification system would be awesome :D

+1

the top of the home page is very cluttered. An entire page worth of banners, ads etc. can't even see the first (latest) blog entry without scrolling down. Top it off with pop up ads on top of the giant photo headlines (just saw one).

Android Central 3.0 is like Sense 3.0 (bloated)
..looking forward to 4

icu says:

Oh my I like the list view - being able to expand an entry right in line is great. It will surely save my scroll wheel some mileage. I approve.

Question. Would it be possible allow us to filter the stories by choosing more than one category i.e. if I'd like to only see "phone" and "app" stories?

moosc says:

So this would explain AC has been loading slowly on Mobil sight. It reminds me of the way old crackberry sight way slow. Well see how it goes.

15israellai says:

One thing I don't like, minutes after using the new site, is that I can't open the featured links (those huge pictures at the homepage) in a new tab.
I'll post any further feedback. Keep it up, guys, I'm loving it.

Rene Ritchie says:

Site looks fantastic, way to go Team AC!

Jonneh says:

I love the new site look! Two things though:

- Wish I could open the articles up in a new tab (it won't let me for the featured articles)
- If the editor's little biography at the end of the article is too long, such as Alex's, it cuts off before it's finished. I told Alex at Google+; hope he sees it.

HAAS599 says:

List view is EPIC!!!!

Thank you for that!

Only suggestion I have is to change the "Latest Headline" sidebar thing to "Most Discussed"

Clak says:

IF you want to improve the site why not remove the gigantic ad at the top? That's the most annoying thing on the site.

Clak says:

One roe thing, why doesn't a site dedicated to smartphones not have a mobile view of the site? I use the old AC app on my phone, but it crashes all the time on ICS, and I know it isn't updated any longer. Why not just have a mobile view of the site? It isn't hard to do.

axelman says:

m.androidcentral.com

alacrify says:

Line spacing in the articles is too long - way too much whitespace. Not sure I like the Verge thing at the top - I only go there maybe once a day because of it, and I typically leave this running all day.

EDIT: after further review, I do NOT like the Verge-like thing headline blocks at the top. I stop in a couple of times and hour to hit refresh and see what's new at the top of the news. Now I have to scroll down below the "headlines" to reach the actual headlines. I give you multiple pages views a day, and you're trying to turn me into someone who would only visit once a day, like I do the Verge.

We are toying with the idea of adding a cookie-based collapse button, that would shrink the block and push the headlines up higher.

For now, use this below page to bypass the featured stories block. This is perfect for hardcore AC fans that just want to latest posts.

http://www.androidcentral.com/content/articles/all

 

scout7 says:

Loads faster!!

android010 says:

very beautiful and clear

Just wish the shop android in the sidebar is replaced by a button or something. I do not like seeing it every time i come to androidcentral

jean15paul says:

Version 1 was great. Version 2 was a valiant effort, but fell short (imo). Version 3 is AWESOME!!!!! Keep up the good work.

One suggestion. It be great if you could seach for all your comments on the blog just like you can search for all your posts on the forums.

frettfreak says:

Looks good. Love most of it. However, your guys site is STILL the SLOWEST loading that i go to on a regular basis. I get the nav bar at the top and then we sit... for a while..

Wiley_11 says:

What's up with the GIANT BANNER ad and the 9 second delay every-time I click on something or hit the back button? This *SUCKS* I may have to ask for a refund!! :p

iPwn says:

I love this redesign. Not often does a website manage to make a redesign that I immediately like, but with this one you guys have! Two thumbs up from me!