Phil Nickinson

Ahhhhhh, fall. The temperatures finally are starting to drop. Football is in full swing. And the Android crazies are out in force.

It's kind of a weird time for product cycles, right? Most of the really big phones for the year are on the shelves, but we've still got the likes of the Galaxy Note 2 and the the Droid RAZR HD lurking for the U.S. markets. We'll still see a smattering of single-day events, but no huge shows like CES or MWC until we reach the new year. 

And that's were, I believe, the silly season comes from. Folks want to stay excited. And editors want to keep you excited. That's how we end up with rumors of 17 different Nexus devices. Or $99 Nexus tablets. Or, ZOMG, there might be a new Nexus out in the fourth quarter.

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Sense the trend there?

Enough with the 'flagships' already

I've never really liked the term "flagship device." It's not that it's not accurate in some cases. Samsung has the Galaxy S3. I suppose I'd call the HTC One X a "flagship," but for whatever reason it just doesn't seem to carry the same weight as the GS3 does. (That's something every manufacturer not named Samsung has had to contend with.)

Maybe what bugs me is that the refresh cycle is just too fast, and the "flagship" name is just too convenient and becomes a crutch for headlines. That's inside baseball for someone who's been writing headlines for the better part of 15 years, though. Maybe I should just get over it.

On the other hand, I'm really curious to see where this mythical HTC One X+ ends up, and what the nerd reaction is to it. I've made no secret of my love for the One X, and the prospect of a version that's just a little more powerful indeed stirs my loins a little bit. But for those who just bought a One X, seeing folks who waited to purchase get a power-up is going to be a tough pill to swallow.

Look who just discovered Google Maps imagery updates

It's been funny to watch the Apple and Android blogs alike suddenly discover that Google announces new imagery updates every month or so. It doesn't do so on any sort of tight schedule, but folks seemed to notice the Sept. 28 update, which of course came the same day (if not at damned near the same time) as Apple CEO Tim Cook's open letter, admitting that Apple's Maps kinda suck.

These announcements from Google hardly are new, though. There's one from Sept. 7. And July 27. And June 11. And May 29. And May 16. And April 25. And April 20. Should we continue?

The point is, Google's been announcing imagery updates for months on the Google Maps Lat-Long Blog. And it's been really cool to see all the smaller towns and municipalities get a little bit of Google love, and it shows the depth of the entire Google Maps/Earth mapping system.

It's just a shame nobody noticed the updates had been publicized until now.

The 'next Nexus'

We talked a bit about this on last week's podcast. For my money, Google either does one, or it doesn't. I don't think it's going to do five. 

If we do see a new Nexus this year, it'll be "later this year." Or "in the fourth quarter." Or any other timeline we're starting to see folks tease as if it's news that October begins the final three months of the year. Every Nexus has been introduced in the waning months of the year, save for the original Nexus One, sort of. Let's recap:

  • Galaxy Nexus: Announced Oct. 18, 2011, in Hong Kong. It originally was to be announced at the CTIA event  in San Diego a week and a half earlier but was postponed, the death of Steve Jobs cited as the reason. It took a little while for it to officially become available in the U.S., thanks to an exclusivity with Verizon that I bet Google wish it could take back. Later in 2012, Google made the GSM version available directly.
  • Nexus S: Announced Dec. 10, 2010. Available a week later. That's how it's done.
  • Nexus One: Announced Jan. 5, 2009. That's the latest (or earliest, I guess) for a Nexus phone to have been announced. But Google was dogfooding it for most of December, if not sooner, effectively doing a silent announcement.

So, yeah. You don't have to be much of a Kreskin to predict that we'll hear of a new Nexus soon, if indeed we're getting on this year.

One more quick thought: The rumors of an "LG Optimus Nexus" came awfully quick after the announcement of the Optimus G, didn't they? That just seems way too convenient. On the other hand, I've had quality time with the Optimus G, and LG phones for some time. The company's certainly capable of putting out a quality Nexus device, should Google choose it.

So what am I looking forward to?

That's a bit of negativity, even for me. Because I really am more excited than ever. We've got great phones from HTC and Samsung already on the shelves. More's coming from Motorola and Intel. The LG Optimus G is going to be worth a look, and it'll be interesting to see how well it does.

Applications continue to get better.

So, yeah. I'm excited. We'll be in San Diego next week for the CTIA "MobileCON" event, where we should see some more new stuff. And I can't wait.