Ah, Christmas Eve. The day we remind our kids that they still have to be good for at least one more day, and remind ourselves that a little extra patience probably wouldn't hurt anyone. Easier said than done, for sure. But it's more important than ever to take a step back, take a breath, and keep some perspective.
In keeping with the spirit of things, here's my naughty and nice list.
- Hardware equilibrium: We're at a place and time in which the underlying technology of smartphones is fairly equal. It's not 100 percent apples to apples, but it's close enough for most folks. And that means it's up to the manufacturers to make the difference in tweaks and customizations. Some add functionality and eke out every last ounce of performance (Samsung). Others have the design chops but seem to struggle a little in the coding department (HTC). Either way, it's good for competition, and that's good for consumers. Samsung undoubtedly will improve the way its UI looks, and HTC will keep working out the bugs. [NICE]
- Carriers and contracts: Still the scrooge of the U.S. smartphone business. But as long as as continue to put a low up-front cost ahead of long-term prospects, nothing's going to change. You wouldn't expect a $2,000 car to last as long -- or be as satisfactory -- as a $20,000 car. So why do we settle for two-year contracts with $50 smartphones, many of which were born into obsolescence? [NAUGHTY]
- Tunnel vision: Focusing on specs while ignoring the forest for the trees. The inability to accept that Nexus devices will never have SD cards. Poo-pooing a phone before you've ever touched it. [NAUGHTY]
- Readers helping readers: Nothing makes me happier than seeing new folk ask questions in our forums and getting helpful answers from the veterans. [FEELING GOOD]
- Patents and stories about patents: Not unimportant, but they get folks riled up about things that are extremely complex, slow-moving and, ultimately, don't really matter to consumers. [PUT ME OUT OF MY MISERY]
- Screwing with developers: Looking at you, Twitter. [STOP IT ALREADY]
- Screwing with users: Looking at you, Facebook and Instagram. [FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUU]
- Smartphones instead of point-and-shoot cameras: Perhaps the single most important improvement, alongside faster data speeds. Our kids will wonder why so little of life was documented before 2010 or so. [INEVITABLY NICE]
- Unplugging: On the other hand, it makes it that much nicer (and important) to turn off the phone every now and then. Put down the tablet. Read a book. Talk to someone. [MUST DO MORE OFTEN]
- Super scary Android malware and viruses: Easy to avoid. Hard to convince mainstream publications that they're part of the problem. [FUD]
- Updates that seem to downgrade your phone: This happens far too often. A software update should not make your device run worse. Ever. Remind me to roll back my Nexus 7 to Android 4.1.2. [WHOOPS]
- Smartphones as digital wallets: Ahead of their time. But Verizon and Google going back and forth over competing standards isn't helping anyone. [GROW UP]
Hope everybody has a safe and happy holiday!