From the Editor's Desk: Sandy, Nexus and what's next
"What's it going to be like?" That was the question my wife posed to me sometime around Sept. 13 or 14 in 2004, just a couple days before Hurricane Ivan thrashed this part of the Gulf Coast -- and just some 56 hours before we were to be married. The answer, unfortunately. People were going to lose their homes, I told her. People were going to die. Beaches would erode, heritage trees would fall, and the very makeup of this relatively quiet (if quirky) community would be changed for a long, long time, if not forever.
So it was with a heavy heart last week that I watched Hurricane Sandy blow into the Northeast. I knew what it was going to look like. Been there, done that. It could have been worse. Much worse. A little more than a year after Hurricane Ivan, I sat in the newsroom, watching the AP photos start to roll in from Hurricane Katrina. Beyond heart-breaking.
These are very different times, though. Back in 2004-05 -- a couple years that saw an inordinate number of hurricanes hit the U.S. -- there was no Twitter. You couldn't upload to Youtube from your phone. Facebook was just a baby. The power went out, and the old-school FM radio (or maybe a TV with antenna) went on for a few hours. Being that unplugged was a blessing and a curse. For as quickly as we saw relief information shared following Sandy last week, so, too, did we see hoaxes spread. I wouldn't want to go back, though. To hell with the hoaxsters.
I really can't think of a worse way to document a storm than Instagram, though. Filters are a horrible idea for showing what it really looks like, to say nothing of the low resolution.
To the folks in New York and New Jersey and everywhere else affected by the storm: Stay safe. Stay patient. Help one another. When your power comes back on and life begins to return to normal, remember that someone else is still in the dark. Or has no home. Or lost a loved one. And you will get through it. This has all happened before, and it will happen again.
Oh, you were expecting some Nexus 4 talk?
So, yeah, the Nexus 4, Nexus 10 and Android 4.2
Like I wrote on Friday when the review embargo lifted, we're knee-deep in all this stuff. Android 4.2's got more in it than I realized at first. (Though it's worth noting that a lot of what you might have heard from some early 4.2 "leak" -- which wasn't even really Android 4.2 -- simply wasn't ever true in the first place. To hell with leaks.)
My tl;dr version of the Nexus 4 review: Damn good phone. A really good phone, both in terms of hardware and software. Folks are looking for it to be magical, though, and expectations still need to be realistic. There's no super 20-hour battery life. The camera (and the camera app) is much improved over the Galaxy Nexus. The phone is fast. It's a really good iteration -- not a revolutionary departure. Look for our review in the next couple of days.
The debate over LTE continues to rage on -- never mind that all the bitching in the world won't make LTE magically appear on the Nexus 4. It's not like Google didn't think this through. It's not like it doesn't have legitimate reasons for not including LTE. And it's easy to forget that so many countries are just now starting to get a little bit of LTE, to say nothing of blanket coverage. But, more important, I think folks still misunderstand the purpose of "Nexus" for Google. We've talked on our podcast about how at some point, despite the technological and licensing hurdles that come along with LTE, it's simply the next step for smartphones, and it will need to become standard on all phones. This time next year, should the next Nexus not have LTE, we'll likely be having a radically different conversation here.
The Nexus 10 tablet also is really good. But at the same time, I think I'm done with the larger-sized tablets. Seven inches (or thereabouts) is where it's at for me. Options are good, though. It'll be interesting to see where the next version of the Nexus 7 goes, in terms of hardware.
Some other musings for the start of November
- There's still plenty more fun to be had this year. Recent posts from @evleaks seem to corroborate our HTC Droid DNA pictures. Five-inch HTC on Verizon? This is gonna be good.
- Speaking of HTC -- everybody seems to love 'em, so what do they have to do to catch a break? Their financials still aren't great, even if the phones are. Is Samsung (and to a lesser extent, LG) just too damn powerful now -- and too-well diversified as a company -- to let the likes of HTC and Motorola truly compete anymore? I certainly hope not.
- An interesting read from Engadget's Jon Fingas on how Amazon and Google bringing us rock-bottom-priced hardware, and how it might not be good in the long term. I disagree, though. Amazon and Google have the ecosystems to support the lower prices -- the apps and music and movies and books. They have things I want, and hardware at the price I want it. And, best of all, it's free from the shackles of the U.S. carrier system. Apple's managed to do so with higher prices -- and higher margins -- and with higher-quality hardware. Samsung's found a place in the middle and has sold a ridiculous number of phones in the process. And that's good, too. This is the way the market works. And it's the way it should work.
That's it for this week. Loads more Nexus and Android 4.2 stuff coming up. And if you haven't voted yet (I love early voting), get out there Tuesday. I'll know if you didn't.
Get the Android Central Newsletter
Instant access to breaking news, the hottest reviews, great deals and helpful tips.
You'd think with all the social media out there people would ban together to form groups and use their buying power to get corporations to change their ethics and habits, but maybe america is too dumbed down and really turning into sheep and do follow what corporations demand of them, instead of demanding from the corporations.
You are totally ignoring a few issues
1. The CDMA nexus update debacle that Google was clearly unhappy with
2. The fact that this device is $350 unlocked which is unprecedented for a phone with these specs
3.There are a number of other LTE high end you can buy from any carrier Many people believe that the reason that Google left out LTE was in order to have FULL control over updates/upgrades like the nexus program was intended. For 299/349 I feel it is an understandable trade off. I do understand that this means that people on CDMA don't have access which is unfortunate but Google is trying to make a point to the carriers.
1) Google's first shot at LTE (that is Sprint/VZW Gnex) was a mess in terms of battery life and, yes, updates (you know, the first reason why you buy a Nexus?). Google seriously does not want this experience again, since delayed upgrades only degrade the value of Nexus brand.
(Now the second point is where my brain's just not going to work.) LTE is NOT, I repeat, NOT, mature enough or widespread enough for Google to include it in a global model. LTE fragmentation is one horrible mess that no phone manufacturer can get out of, even Apple. (You can buy an unlocked iPhone from Canada, but not from US Apple Store. Think about it.) There is not a practical frequency standard for LTE, and the frequency war makes it impossible for global phones to have global LTE, and hence no LTE and no CDMA. Heck, LG made the phone and they can't even release the phone in Korea because Korea is all WCDMA & LTE. This phone is following near-global standards and things that can be handled by AOSP, and LTE is not one.
The only route Google can shoehorn in LTE that I can see is a carrier model, and we know Google doesn't want that. Should we really criticize Google for releasing an unlocked, global-minded phone that lacks some communication features included in carrier-locked phones? All your examples are from US (VZW and AT&T) and to say "Oh, since WE have LTE, Google's being an idiot for not including LTE!" is, in my opinion, a selfish and childish tantrum that does not consider the global situation regarding wireless communication as a whole. Again, to quote the latest AC podcast, not having LTE in this case is "a feature, not an omission."
Sorry if my English was a bit off--I'm a South Korean native, and my English probably isn't up to the native standards even after 3 years of living in Indiana.
VZW: Has iPhone, Droid, and a crap ton of money. "Why the hell should we agree to keep stock Android on that phone of yours, Google? We got the money and the authority. If you want that phone on the Big Red, we should be able to load up some sick bloatware, or at least test the software... if you catch my meaning."
AT&T: Has iPhone, Nokia's Windows Phone, and a crap ton of money. Remember how Nokia's newest Lumia's have been AT&T exclusive? Who wants to push that, right?
Sprint: Has iPhone, but should Google really make a CDMA model just to target Sprint? (In a relatively unrelated note, the argument that since Google is willing to gamble e.g. with Wi-Max, it should implement LTE is an oversimplication, and oversimplication is a logical fallacy.)
So, what about subsidized models? I'm sorry, but when it's been shown that the LTE-enabled models of the Gnex was basically an update hell because of the carriers Google gets a full justification either way (to be or not to be). Apple's case is amazing in this respect, by the way, because the iPhone's sheer popularity has allowed Apple to handle most of the updates while keeping bloatware out of the phones. Nexus is not iPhone. Subsidized Nexus (probably with LTE) will mean that carriers will get their knives on the phone. Google's move is a giant middle finger to this, especially to the U.S. giants. Read the Verge's article on the interview with Andy Rubin carefully for more on this.
And while I agree that the technology of LTE itself has been polished enough, it still has a LOONG way to go in terms of worldwide implementation. As of current state, if Google wants to go LTE, the company might as well make a bunch of different CDMA models.
By the way, you still didn't add anything about your case only applying pretty much to U.S. While LTE networks are being developed in other nations, I see about 2 years till they at least become pretty common on other continents. It's not that there is no future in LTE (because it is the future); it's just that it's too far away when you look at the globe as a whole, and that for Google, LTE comes bundled with the leashes made by the carriers. Google has pushed a boundary with Nexus 4, by the way, and it's not Android 4.2. I probably should not have said "childish" as much as I should have rather said "arrogant."
P.S. Sorry for beating a Straw Man in my last comment. I know it's a logical fallacy, but I just thought it would have more of an effect.