We have a lot of balls in the air here at Mobile Nations. That is, we've got a whole lot of things going on at once. (That's a juggling metaphor.)

Android Central UniversitySome of these things you fine folks get to see. All the reviews we do. All the news we cover. The shift to a more centralized newsroom. All the public events we attend, and the private meetings needed to set them up. All the work on the back end — think servers, CMS, design, security, etc. — from the folks who never get the credit they deserve (you can find all their names here). The men and women in our retail side, who (in addition to advertising, yes) help fund those of us in the toy box, in addition to bringing great accessories at the best prices they can manage.

So, yeah. There's a lot going on at Mobile Nations, the company. And speaking in an editorial capacity, it's nice to get a chance to actually give focus to just one or six things at once.

Welcome to Android Central University.

A little more than a month ago I explained how we were going to go more in-depth with the most popular devices than we've ever done before. I think we're well on our way with that. (We've still got plenty of room for improvement. We're never going to be able to have complete parity among devices, much as I'd like to. There are never enough hours in the day, and never enough of us to write.)

It's time to expand even further. Devices are a huge part of our lives. But they're only half the story. Services — software, really — make up much of the other half. Services that we use every day. E-mail. Text messages. Security. Travel. Games. Apps for our kids. How to keep our kids safe from things they're not yet ready for.

ACU is about learning. It's about going deeper into the services we all use on our phones every day.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Android Central University is more about organization than anything else. See the badge, and click it for more in that track. Gmail. Facebook. Twitter. Rooting. Whatever. Anything and everything. The badge is also a sign that we're aiming for the folks who don't already know it all. And that includes us. One of the best parts about Android is that it's always evolving, and so we have to continue to learn and grow with it.

Mobile Nations prides itself on being real tech for real people, and a big part of that should be making it easier for you to find the information you need, be it from the blog, or from our forums. ACU is one step in the right direction on that front. (We've got other aspects in the works for later this year. And to say I'm excited about them is quite the understatement.)

We're a community of Android experts and veterans, made up of those of us here at Android Central, and those of you who contribute in your own way. And we're also a growing community of folks new to smartphones, and new to Android. Both are equally important to us. And Android Central University should make our combined experiences that much more important.

And now for something completely different ...

  • Apple possibly buying Beats? If you're wondering what that means for the HTC handsets that have Beats audio enhancements, don't worry about it. HTC and Beats were finished in 2013. And nobody's going to update an M7 to remove the code, or scratch off the Beats logo from the back of the phone.
  • The speculation for the reason behind the purchase — which, by the way, still isn't official — is fun to watch. Like we just can't fathom the idea of Apple (and all the really smart people who work there) having a reason to do something that we just can't figure out.
  • So ... my guess? Cash to burn and a desire to try something different.
  • The National Climate Assessment report scares the shit out of me. It should scare everyone.
  • I picked up a Verizon Galaxy S5 last week. I've got a Sprint Harman/Kardon HTC One M8 in hand. I'm not saying anything new here, but the carrier bloat is out of control. Do yourself a favor if you can and avoid carrier-branded phones. Buy dev or unlocked, if you can. Write your congressman. Tell your mother. This is ridiculous.

We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there. Let's get back to work.


Reader comments

From the Editor's Desk: Going back to school


So the bloat is this bad? I'm waiting on the G3, may may pick up a 1+1 if that has horrendous bloat as well.

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S5 has a ton of bloat on ATT. I am going back and forth with the Nexus 5 now. I do love removable battery and the screen on the S5 though!

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A friend, who is also a tech writer so I was surprised he made this leap, posted last week about getting the Windows Phone version of the GS4 (ATIV SE) and remarked, "Plus, I had a Galaxy S4 with Android and it was a pig. Barely responsive and often needed a several seconds to respond.But this phone, with identical hardware, has no pause, no delay. It shows Android is the problem."

I wasn't going to let that slide and replied, "Two words, pal: BULL and SHIT!!! This isn't a matter of preference for WinPhone; it's slander.

The GS4 was highly disliked in Android circles because Samsung slathered so much TouchWiz cheese all over Android it was a lagfest of lagtastic lag. All sorts of useless bullet-point "features" that weighed the phone down; that's why the GS5 doesn't even ship with a lot of the cruft; Samsung made much of it optional downloads.

I've got a Nexus 5 and it's faster than greased grease on a greasy pile of grease going downhill on a summer day. Why? Because it's pure, unskinned Android. Other than mediocre battery life (I suspect it's because mine is a launch unit; I'm troubleshooting now), there's nothing better. I'm intrigued by this OnePlus One that was announced today, but I've got to believe a 5-1/2" HD display, 3100mA battery and 64GB of storage for $350(!!) has to have some unacceptable corner cutting involved. My Nexus 5 was $400 for the 32GB model."

He snarled back, "Dude, don't tell me what I did or didn't experience on a daily basis for a month, ok?"

I punched in return, "Go back and read ALL the words, mmmkay? You're smearing ANDROID for all the junk that SAMSUNG larded on top of it. It's like saying that a red car gets better gas mileage and has better performance than a blue car because blue cars are slow when you were unaware someone had put a half-ton of cement in the blue car's trunk.

Want to slag the Galaxy S4 as being a laggy pig because Sammy buried it in geegaws and whizzy touch stuff; have at it. Prefer Windows Phone's layout? Whatever makes you happy. But try to smear Android as slow because of Samsung's skin; then we have a problem. Google up "galaxy s4 lag" and look at the parade of fix topics it returns.

What is the first thing Android power users wonder when a new flagship phone is announced? A: Whether there will be a Google Play Edition, meaning the hardware with pure vanilla Android, no maker skins or carrier bloatware.

Google has been polishing Android's speed since Jellybean hit almost two years ago. KitKat tool the improvements of JB and optimized it even further low it'd run on lower spec devices intended for developing markets. That Samsung screwed the pooch is on Samsung. Don't bash Android for one maker's terrible code."

He never replied.

TL;DR: Bloated skins and carrier lard make people think Android is bad, mmmkay?

See this is the problem with people, they never GOOGLE STUFF before they decide on I don't know, buying a phone, who to blame when experiencing tech problems. Spending 10 mins to read a review could easily save you 2 years of time from using a bad phone or half a day to return it.

As I said, he's a writer for tech sites and has a long journalistic background, so I'm actually stunned that he would make such a generalization so casually.

Your comments always rock. I wish I didn't have brain fog and could write out as coherent a paragraph as this that is this witty.
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^5 to all the folks working behind the scenes. I really enjoyed the android primer in the forums when I first joined AC. Now I'm looking forward to the continuing education.

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The national climate assessment link isn't working. Tried it on two phones. I wanna be scared shitless too...

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The link works, you just have to use the link from the website and not from the app.

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Overview, humans are stupid and believe anything including this report.

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To alleviate the bloatware, buy the HTC M8 GPE. It is phenomenal.

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State funded as opposed to what? "This study brought to you by the petroleum industry" sure sounds a lot better. No bias there.

Except when lots of those facts are bases on computer models. I only ask you to look at how bad NASA predicted what would happen to Voyager when it got outside the solar system. I'll tip you off, every single prediction was wrong. So let's just take a step back on how smart we really are. Even so, isn't global warming better than global cooling? Pretty sure last century was one of the most fruitful for the human race.

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One it doesn't really work. It's too expensive, to make it cost competitive. So they are trying to inflate costs of cheaper alternatives by any means. See EPA on that. Otherwise it's just terrific.... NOT!

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Your guess: Cash to burn and a desire to try something different.
My guess: The innovation machine has slowed at Apple HQ and they're finally getting their ego out of the way, pulling out that massive wallet, and looking to other companies for a jump start. Beats is one. I also read they have guys from Nokia's PureView team in their sights. More power to them.

ACU sounds like a fine institution. I'm looking forward to learning more about Android.

Also, I'd like a MacBook (or iPhone) with Beats Audio. Beats was/is a nice addition to HTC smartphones and the HP Envy line of laptops, so I think Apple plus Beats would be a good combo, as well.

Posted via AC App on HTC One

Good stuff. I look forward to seeing the AC University information. The Global Warming reference/link was a little strange. But since I really enjoy reading all the android tech news here I can handle a little opinion on global warming politics... even if I don't agree with it 100% :)

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Carrier Bloat - Could NOT agree more. REALLY Verizon? You need to have your OWN messaging app? Cloud? And so much more? Really???

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As for AC University, instead of providing information that anyone could gleam in a 'For Dummies' book, I hope you guys go a little deeper to explain how things work under the hood, for those of us who are techies, but not Java programmers. What I mean is, not only exactly what happens when someone roots, but also how to go about some deep customizations that cannot be obtained by simply taking a trip to the Settings dialog or downloading an app. Like, how do I get stock Android to read an SD card through the USB port, or customize the navigation bar.

You know Phil, the coolest thing about this is that you folks are on the move. It's why your readership is growing so fast. It must be exciting to be the head of this beast.

"I'm not saying anything new here, but the carrier bloat is out of control. Do yourself a favor if you can and avoid carrier-branded phones. Buy dev or unlocked, if you can."

Ugh I know. ... What do these carriers think? That the consumer will be like 'oh man these shitty laggy ugly ass apps are amazing! I never want to ever remove it ever! In fact keep giving me carrier updates that keep giving me more of these apps please!'

No. Just, no.

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They probably don't think that. What they probably DO think is that it is an excellent way to drive monthly insurance attach rates for themselves and Asurion.

But I just don't get how putting non - removable software on a phone helps their image or even their bottom line...

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Their image is helped amongst the masses, initially, by having a lot of software on the phone that provides "value." Their bottom line is padded by companies paying for their software to be on the phone and by consumers who, knowingly or unknowingly, sign up for extra services through those pre-installed apps. Every time a customer puts a MRC or an app download on their wireless bill the carrier gets a cut. For that matter - in some cases a carrier gets a cut when an Android user does a Google search on the network. Out of spite that is why I don't ever bill anything to my carrier bill.

This ACU sounds like a good idea, can't wait to see more.

Also, the quote at the end... have you been watching Smokey & The Bandit? ;)
"We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there. Let's get back to work."

I'm east bound just watch ole Bandit run!

Evidently ACU is funded by leftist. Or else you overstepped your charge with an attempt at humor.

I've been a faithful AC Reader since it's inception and will continue to be, so long as it stays true to why it's here. If I want political commentary, let me go to a site meant for that. The reason you're afraid due to that report is because that is the purpose of that report. Government seek to control people through fear. It's their greatest weapon. Do your research. Read history.

If they really wanted to effect the climate they would kill all livestock on Earth and figure out a way to prevent another volcano from ever erupting. Pretty comical huh? The truth usually is. Problem being we and most life on earth would freeze to death and never return. You can't raise any taxes that way


I like the idea of ACU and Mobile Nation's new "real tech for real people" initiative. Talking about technology if understandable ways has been a strength of this company and I'm glad that it will become an increased focus. I know that those of us in the intermediate and advanced camps won't get left behind, either.

Without stating where my own position on the topic is (and hopefully not generating a bunch of argumentative replies in the process)....Phil, can you *please* not inject political stuff into AC? If I want to read folks going back and forth in ever-more-rude cycles I can get that on 98% of the rest of the internet. AC has generally been a nice on-topic haven. Please keep it that way. Grrr.

These Editor's Desk posts are basically a weekly dive into what's going through Phil's mind. He can post whatever he wants here. It's not like he's going to post political stuff every day so get over it.

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