For most Android enthusiasts, Nexus is a word synonymous with purity and the best that Android has to offer. Google’s latest operating system release is one that is usually highly anticipated and the Nexus devices are usually the first to receive it or outright run it. Since the first Nexus One released in 2010, the developer community has rallied around the Nexus devices and have embraced them as no other consumer segment has. There are multiple websites devoted to taking the open source code of Android and making it do even more new and exciting things: XDA-Developers is the most high profile one. An Android guy (like both me and Sean P) can, and occasionally have, lost hours spent researching anything and everything there. I owned the Galaxy Nexus and Sean P. owned the Nexus 6 – we have tweaked so many different settings and features that its really not even worth mentioning here.
With each and every release though, Android has become less of a joke and more of a polished, fluid operating system. From Ice Cream Sandwich, to Jelly Bean, to KitKat, to Lollipop (and now Marshmallow and recently released Nougat on the horizon too) things stopped being ultra laggy, features got better and plentiful, and with the advent of the Material Design language (introduced in Lollipop) things look and feel like they might if you were actually interacting with a physical element in the real world. The development community and Google themselves have pushed Android forward until it is now the most popular mobile operating system in the world. A lot of that has to do with folks in the development community buying Nexus phones so that they could test, compile code, and test some more. In that respect, Nexus phones can bear the lion’s share of credit for being easy to unlock and develop for, and difficult (but not impossible) to break beyond repair. Initially, this meant that the phone wasn’t really pretty or even a well thought out design: it was there to serve a functional purpose – help you make Android and apps developed for Android better in a meaningful way. Let’s be honest here – the Nexus One wasn’t a phone you bought because it was “good looking.”
|Yes – this actually a phone with a trackball at the bottom (Nexus One from HTC)|
It did, however, do its job. The Galaxy Nexus is a phone that’s near and dear to my heart – its not really winning any style awards either. From its bulbous bottom and large front chin, it was fine in its time, but was something that I liked more for what it did than what it simply was. We have moved to a point in time where subsequent Nexus phones, like the Nexus 4 and 5, and even the Nexus 6P, are just down right nice phones themselves; attractive devices that also serve a purpose. Google has moved to a place where their OEM partners can help them spread the gospel of Android to millions, and hey – a lot of those people will never, ever unlock and root their phones. So if you want to sell a bunch of devices, at least give the folks their moneys worth when it comes to design.
|The lovely Nexus 6P|
Nexus phones are now a device that can be (and in some cases, should be) considered by regular every day Joe Consumers. The upcoming devices from HTC bearing the codenames Sailfish and Marlin are rumored to have things anyone would want, like the latest hardware specs, premium metal unibody chassis, very good displays, and high quality camera modules. These are clearly phones designed to be phones first and could also at some point by some people be used to develop and test software for the latest version of Android. I loved my Galaxy Nexus, but grew tired of the mediocre battery life and downright horrible camera. So I left it for a G2 from LG that wasn’t quite as fun but served my personal needs better in a lot of other ways. And while I was using my G2, Android got better. When I upgraded to the G3, Android got upgraded too. When when it was time to get a new phone last year, I gave strong consideration to the G4 – and ultimately chose the Nexus 6P. Not only does the 6P have the ability to showcase what stock Android can do from a software standpoint, it also is just a great stand alone phone.
Nexus users used to be a relatively small group of folks that were in a very real way responsible for helping to making Android better for everyone. And over the years, Android has come a long way baby. Its more polished, its got a ton of features, and its great for a wide range of mobile devices. And the Nexus phones have come a long way too. They mirror the development of Android itself; once unrefined and utilitarian, the Nexus 5X and 6P are amongst the best values for their price point of ANY phone, not just unlockable or developer phones. And that’s why I feel the Nexus program actually does matter, and might continue to matter to folks for the foreseeable future – I no longer have to make the choice between a “good phone” and having the latest version of Android. The Nexus devices can now give me the best of both worlds.
Greetings fellow tech seekers! Once again, we at Silicon Theory have an exciting podcast to discuss what’s new in the world of mobile tech. In this episode we talk about the Moto Z and Z Force after having some hands on time with the phones, as well as future expected offerings from OEMs LG, Apple, and HTC. You won’t want to miss this episode!
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Episode 7 is here, just in time for your weekend listening! We discuss the launch of the Note 7, what we like and don’t like about the device after a little hands on time, and where we feel the price point puts it at.
The rumors have it that the newest iPhone is only weeks away from being announced (most likely next month in September) and while the leaks have been coming fast and furious, there is another Apple product that has been getting a lot of attention, but not a lot of love – that’s the yet to be announced refresh of Apple’s MacBook Pro line of laptops. While the new MacBook is amongst the lightest and thinnest mobile PCs, the Pro is really the top of the food chain where Apple is concerned. Considering they started as a computer company, you would think this would be at the top of Apple’s product list every year or 2. And apparently, you’d be wrong.
But the world still uses and needs PCs, and laptops in particular. This article and most of the ones posted here at Silicon Theory are drafted, written, and published via one. The Silicon Theory Podcast is edited and published using one. Every day, hundreds of thousands of people (if not outright millions like Windows PCs) work on Apple computer products, whether its MacBooks (Air/Pro) and iMac PCs. This used to be an area where Apple shined as making the best of best, with cutting edge design and specs, and while they haven’t dominated the PC market in a way that Windows PCs have (and will continue to do so) you can say without question they are amongst the first choice of students and private citizens when it comes to laptop computers. I mentioned in a previous article you can’t help but notice the number of glowing apple logos around you when entering any coffee shop that offers free WiFi. The MacBook is synonymous with a laptop in most consumers minds.
|The Note 7 features include an
iris scanner and water resistance
The speed of change in mobile phone tech is astonishing at times, with companies like Samsung pushing the limits of what we thought was impossible just a few years ago for a phone. Want your phone waterproof? Done. Don’t want to use a PIN or your fingerprint to lock/unlock your phone? No problem, we’ll include a iris scanner so you don’t have to. Moore’s Law stipulates that the speed of microprocessor power is likely to double every 2 years, but this would impact PCs and laptops in the same way it has mobile phones. The cost of producing a mobile phone is much smaller (compared to PCs) and this might be what’s causing the delay in producing new MacBook Pro devices, although Apple is also sitting on a literal and figurative mountain of cash, so maybe – maybe not.
Maybe what it really is is that everyone has now come to expect the “latest and greatest” from Apple, and the decline in record profits over the last 2 quarters for iPhone sales reflect that people see the new iPhone as not meeting that expectation. And perhaps Apple was waiting to release a new MacBook Pro until they had something really groundbreaking to show up with, like a OLED touchscreen that replaces a row of function keys. Or a battery supply that lasts longer than 8 hours in continuous use. Something, anything that will wow people in a way that nothing has done since….well, the last MacBook Pro was launched. And as of now, that’s a been a mighty long time. And counting.
Samsung announced the next edition in their Galaxy Note series, the Note 7, and it has sparked a very interesting response. Sean P. around these parts was in particular very excited to see (and likely purchase) the next Note device, but has cooled significantly since the announcement. Not that a phone priced at between $850-$890 depending on carrier should be an easy “pull-the-trigger” buy. So if you are considering making the plunge, are already a Note user or fan, or just want to know what the big deal about this phone is, let’s take a deeper dive into what’s going on.
Did Samsung do enough with the Note 7 to get folks to buy into its extravagant price point? If pre-orders in South Korea are any indication, the answer is a very healthy yes. Check back with us soon for what will most likely be a in-depth review of this device (if Sean P. ever ends up pulling the trigger, which I think he will)
Episode 6 of the podcast is up and available via iTunes, Google Play Music, and SoundCloud. Links are below. We discuss (and rant) about why in the world Verizon would want to buy Yahoo, in an era where it would seem like the world and internet has passed Yahoo by.
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