Google Experience phones

One of the most important things to remember about the mobile space, I believe, is that there are so many moving parts. I can't help but believe that for as much about this business as we think we know, there's so much more going on behind closed doors. Never mind super secret new hardware. That's a given. It's the business end of things that provide the "why" and "how."

The past week -- past couple weeks, actually -- we've been thinking a lot about why we now have more "Google Experience" phones based on hardware that was designed hand-in-hand with another software experience altogether. Why is Google offering "stock" versions of the HTC One and Galaxy S4 alongside the Nexus 4?

The first answer I tell myself usually is "because it can." And there are worse reasons to do things, I suppose. But there has to be something in it for Samsung and HTC. I'm guessing quicker access to new code, plain and simple. 

Anyhoo. We'll take a look at these new Google Experience devices when they're available toward the end of the month. I'm mainly interested in how the cameras perform, along with general use.

A few other quick thoughts for this fine Sunday:

  • Looking forward to the Talk Mobile 2013 launch party this Thursday in New York City. Getting to meet readers is probably my favorite part of this job. We need to do more of that, whether it's a handshake on a street corner, or more official meet-ups.
  • I'm even more excited that TM13 content finally starts to drop on Monday. The run-up seemed to take forever. I haven't even seen the finished product yet. But that's a testament to the team working on it. I'm not worried about it in the slightest.
  • I agree with Alex. The Nexus 4 is still a damn fine phone, and probably the best value in an Android smartphone. I've been carrying the white version around for a few days. I miss the rubber sides, but it's not a deal-breaker.
  • Version 1.2 of the Android Central App is aiming to address some of the top feature requests we've had. It's been an interesting experience for me. I use the app, too, of course, so there are things I want RIGHT THIS SECOND that I've had to learn to wait for, just like everyone else. I think we're making steady progress on an app that was better than pretty good out of the gate, and maybe that's a better way of going about things, instead of dumping 200 features into an app at launch.
  • That said, I'm still seeing a few e-mails from folks upset that the old app doesn't work anymore. (How did anyone miss the news of the new app?) Trust me, it's a good thing that old app doesn't work anymore. Uninstall it. Please. Use this one instead.
  • I'm officially plenty impressed with Google Music All Access. Probably the best $7.99-a-month I'll spend this year. You've got the rest of this month to sign up at that discounted rate.
  • I'm less impressed with the new Gmail format, using tabs to split up your inbox. I gave it a few days, but it was just a much slower experience for me. And I deal with too much e-mail to have the process become slower. So long, tabs. We'll just have to see how the mobile experience changes.
  • Speaking of music, how awesome is it that a new Nine Inch Nails record is coming, probably in the next month or two. Figure it'll be released about the time the tour starts, right?
  • New Queens of the Stone Age this week. New Jimmy Eat World next week. Sweet.
  • Tough to see the Chicago Sun-Times lay off its entire photo staff and move to freelancers and crowdsourcing. I'm actually a proponent of the utility journalist -- you need to be able to write and shoot and record and edit more than ever. That said, I can take pictures -- occasionally even some good ones -- but that doesn't make me a photographer. Same goes for any other specialty in a newsroom. Those kinds of positions don't come cheap anymore, though.
  • Some good thoughts on the Sun-Times layoffs from Jeff Jarvis and more from Mathew Ingram, in you're interested in how this all works.