Three cities, and a mountain of coverage
We've done a lot of things and gone a lot of places in my five years of doing this job. New York. San Francisco. Las Vegas. San Diego. Chicago. Detroit. Orlando. Los Angeles. Seattle. London. Berlin. Barcelona. Seoul. Austin. Dallas. And that's just off the top of my head.
I don't remember ever pulling off — or being anywhere near as tired, or mostly satisfied — what we did last week. For Andrew Martonik and myself, it started with four devices from Samsung in New York, and hardly inconsequential ones at that. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4. The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge. The Gear S smartwatch. And the Gear VR virtual reality helmet. I'll wait and argue usefulness another day. As singular products, that was a pretty cool day of coverage.
And that's to say nothing of the (sort of) simultaneous live events in New York and Berlin. That's always a tricky thing to try to liveblog, as it starts to get confusing, for obvious reasons. It didn't help that New York started a good 10 or 15 minutes later than Berlin, so Andrew and I just held back and let Alex run that show. Of course, Andrew and I ended up standing about 8 feet from Maroon 5's Adam Levine and some other guy. (James Valentine, actually. C'mon, don't pretend you don't know there's more than one person in that band.) So there's that.
Coming off about 2 hours of sleep the night before the event, we pause just long enough in New York to pick up our bags, then head to La Guardia for a short hop to Chicago and Motorola. (Managed to catch my first game at Wrigley upon landing, though. It's not often I'm able to squeeze in a little fun time on these trips, but I'm glad we did in this case. What a ballpark.)
So, Motorola, and the new Moto X, Moto 360, and some pretty cool accessories. Imagine if Motorola had announced the Moto Hint on its own, say a month or so from now. It would have mostly been a footnote. Instead, it got tons of ink last week. (We'll do more on it when it's actually available.) That's damn good PR, folks.
And I'm still catching up on everything Alex, Richard and Derek did at IFA in Berlin. I can't say enough how great a job those guys did.
It was one hell of a week. And we're not done yet. This week Andrew and I are off to Las Vegas for the CTIA "Super Mobility Week." We're not expecting anything near as epic as last week, but coverage will start Monday, and you can catch it all here.
A few other thoughts on the week that was ...
- Ya know, for as much as we did last week, there's still so much we simply didn't have time to do. Chris Ziegler's excellent behind-the-scenes look from the Motorola tour we all did sums it up nicely.
- (And, yes, it's perfectly OK to be jealous of the video The Verge does. It's a gold standard from some great people I'm honored to call work friends.)
- I wish everyone could get an inside look at a company like that — designers and engineers and test equipment and anechoic chambers and Faraday cages that span entire rooms. I've gotten to do so at companies like LG and GM, and to a lesser extent HTC. It teaches you to see beyond just the product and appreciate the amount of time, money and love (yes, really) that goes into making a smartphone. Remember that next time you're about to type "dat bezel."
- Can't go without at least addressing the massive dump of celebrity nudie pics, I suppose. Of course, when asked, anyone will call the theft and release of such pictures a deplorable action. And it was. But I was also surprised at (at least from what I saw — Ryan Block was a notable exception) how unacceptable it was to suggest that not taking nude pictures is a good way to keep nude pictures from being stolen. (Or from being accidentally posted, which also happens from time to time.)
- To be clear, that's not the same as saying "They asked for it" or some such nonsense. Nothing about the theft and release of all those pictures — or the pictures before and after last Sunday night — is acceptable. Period. It's simply a matter of control, and a matter of choice.
- Put it this way: You know how every now and then you see something stupid or offensive end up in a newspaper, because someone used some funny dummy copy that they forgot to remove? Same sort of thing, and it's something I learned quickly and had zero tolerance for from those who worked for me. If you don't want it in the paper, you don't put it in the paper. Not even for a second. You avoid saying "this is a stupid story" in a headline by not putting it on the page in the first place.
- Funnily, "Swift on Security" (as in a fake Taylor Swift) was one of the better takes on it all last week. Especially this tweet. Maybe I'm just showing my age.
- But it's still OK to not take nude selfies, isn't it? I can just not do it, right? (Nobody needs to see that anyway.)
- And it's been interesting to hear my wife talk about it all, telling her colleagues "I'm sure Phil would love me to send him pics like that, being gone so much." (Yes, he very much would.) "But I'm just not going to do that." Because she gets that the moment you hit "Send," you give control to the cloud services you're using, and the person you're sending to.
- And, really, I think that's the argument behind this entire thing. Control, and the loss of it.
- One more thought: For all the outrage over the stolen celebrity pictures (and if you haven't seen Reddit's recent bungled attempt at being a responsible adult (and the subsequent bungled response), you should) where is the same for all the pictures of every other woman whose body is online without her consent? (And, to be fair, probably some men, too.) Responsibility shouldn't start and end with knowing someone's face and name. (And, now, other parts.)
- Back to the fun stuff. My quick take on the Moto 360: Best-looking Android Wear watch yet. A smartwatch needs to last essentially a full work day. A 300 mAh battery never was going to last as long as the 400 mAh battery in the LG G Watch. Question is whether I (and others) will be willing to make that compromise for the cooler design. But if you can easily put it on a Qi charger for an hour in the middle of the day, is that such a bad thing?
- We'll have much more on the 360 over the following days and weeks. I haven't made up my mind yet.
- Oy. I mucked this up pretty good. The short version is that "Ambient Screen" mode on the 360 is mostly the same as the "Always On" mode on other watches. The big difference? The Moto 360 isn't always on. The display does turn off after dimming. And all that's different than the ambient light sensor. (Which I suppose I should have figured out when I thought "Weird, it's got an 'Ambient Screen' mode and auto brightness.")
- And I've got some serious thinking to do on the new Moto X. I loved the first one, disappointing camera and all. But (on Day 3) I can't help but wonder if the new Moto X just has too many compromises for what it is. What makes this phone stand out?
- I'll be working on reviews of those two this week. Not sure if I'll get them done while in Vegas, or if they'll need to wait until we get back. No reason to rush these things. I want a review I'm happy with.
As you no doubt have noticed, we've redesigned the comments on the blog. Not only do they look better, but they now have up/down voting. We still need to get that hooked into the app, though. And for everyone sending in feedback on our mobile templates, we hear you. As we explained some time ago, we're still in the midst of a larger redesign that's being done piece by piece. What you see today is not the finished product. Thanks for the feedback. We hear you, and we're continuing to improve things while we work toward the final design.
And with that, it's time to pack. Again. Let's get back to work.