Welcome, ladies and germs, to Android Central v3.0.
What you see before you here is the third major iteration of the design of the best damn Android website in the world, bar none. Born of some incredible designers and coders, alongside the news people you know and trust and the forums administrators, advisers and moderators who guide you through the Android world 365 days a year, this is, I can say without hesitation, the best version of Android Central yet.
What's new? We've got the full changelog in the forums. (And, frankly, with the pace at which we're working, it's likely to be slightly out of date by the time you read this. We don't sleep much.) The short version is a cleaner design in the forums and blogs, and more options on the front page.
We've been experimenting with a couple homepage views for a while now. One is the traditional blog view. Big images and stories that might be short, or might take you a few thousand words deep. The other is a headline view that shows you the latest information at a glance. (It actually takes me back to the old days of reading the Associated Press wire for hours on end, with only timestamps, category codes and story slugs to guide me.) If you're an RSS junkie, this is the view for you. (But don't worry, our traditional RSS feeds are still there, too.)
The Headlines bar is your portal to customizing the news the way you want to receive it. Just want tablet news? Hit the button, and that's all you'll see. Only want to see the latest news and reviews on apps? There's a button for that, too. On the right-hand side is where you'll find the buttons for full blog and headline views. And the "Latest Discussions" tab brings you the latest forum threads, which is where the real action is. Members helping members. Q&A sessions. You name it, it's in the forums.
The best part, however, is that we're not done. Not by a long shot. We can still do better, and we will do better. (Be sure to leave your feedback on this post, and in the forums.)And it'll all happen with you all, the Android Central members, leading the way. So from all of us here at AC, from the writers to the designers to the coders to the mods and admins and advisers, thanks for being here. Thanks for pushing us to do better every day. This one's for you.
And with that, on to the news. ...
A funny thing happens when you spend a couple days locked in a meeting room with brilliant people -- you tend to come away a little bit smarter yourself. As you might have seen, I and a number of journalists whose work you also read (and if you don't, you damn well should) had a couple days of meetings with HTC in Seattle. Some of it was on the record, some of it was off the record. Some of it was HTC giving us a better idea of how it does things (and, in turn, we also have a better understanding of how other manufacturers likely go about making smartphones), and a lot of it was us telling HTC how we think it should do things. The conversations were candid and extremely interesting. Don't expect a list of bullet points of juicy things we saw. But if you ask me a question, you'll likely get a more-informed answer now, and not just regarding HTC products.)
In the interest of full disclosure, I was there on HTC's dime. That's something I rarely do, as our company's bookkeepers can easily attest to. (O hai last-minute trip to London for a Samsung event.) But for all the knowledge that HTC shared with us about how -- and more important, why -- it does some of the things it does, just as exciting was that I was able to take all your questions and concerns about the new HTC One line and Sense 4 and give some of that feedback directly to some of the people who make the devices. If you haven't been in our HTC forums lately, you've been missing out. (And you're certainly going to miss out now.)
We weren't under total lockdown. Tweets were flowing when they could, and a couple posts came out of the event. But most important was getting to hear from some brilliant minds who make and report on devices and software we all use every day.
Samsung in London
So, yeah. Alex Dobie and I will be at the Samsung event on May 3 in London. (It'll be my first time in the UK, actually.) Samsung's only promising we'll see "The Next Galaxy." It wouldn't surprise me if Galaxy S III or Galaxy S3 isn't actually the name. (And truth be told, I'd be just fine with that.)
The latest leaks are fun, but again, I'm 99 percent sure they're not actually what will be unveiled. (And, again, getting to see but a few of the steps in the birth of a smartphone this week is going to make me even more skeptical of leaks going forward.)
The hardware's bound to be pretty good, right? It's certain to have some serious specs. (And remember that it's more than likely to change somewhat in the hands on the U.S. carriers.) I think I'm more interested to see what's in store on the software side. I've made no secrets about being pretty happy with how HTC's Sense 4 does a nice job of working with Ice Cream Sandwich instead of replacing it. Will Samsung do the same? (And for that matter, will Motorola in its next generation of phones? And what about LG?) I really do enjoy using stock Ice Cream Sandwich. I don't want Samsung to replace it. Augment and improve? Sure. But not replace.
We'll find out in a week and a half.
The Sprint Galaxy Nexus
FINALLY! Dunno what the holdup was (probably gnashing of teeth over the LTE network, or maybe a four-month exclusive for Verizon), but Sprint's finally released this thing.
There's been a lot of talk in the forums about whether the Galaxy Nexus is still worth it on Sprint, or whether the EVO 4G LTE is the hottest phone now. It really depends on what you're getting it for, I think. I still contend that 4.7 inches of Super LCD 2 beats 4.7 inches of Super AMOLED Plus (both are 720x1280 resolution). I'm digging Sense 4. But if you want a more stock experience without hacking, the GNex would be the way to go. (I also still contend that Sense 4 actually improves on the stock experience.)
Another caveat, though. If you're worried about having the "latest" version of Android, remember that consistent version numbers no longer are an absolute on the Galaxy Nexus. So one may hop ahead of another. Or ahead of the EVO 4G LTE. Or whatever. That one's a fallacy now, too. (Though somehow I have a feeling I'll be repeating this once or twice.)
That's it for now. We've got a busy couple of weeks ahead of us, with London for Samsung, and the CTIA conference in New Orleans just a few days after that. Stick around. This is gonna get good.
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