With each year comes a new round of flagship devices, and before the announcement of these much anticipated devices, consumers start a wishlist of what he or she wants featured. For the most part, it has to do with displays or internal components. How big will the display be? How many pixels per inch? Then there is Megapixels in the camera, Gigabytes of RAM, and the latest processor. Most of these get answered because each year there is a ‘standard’ set of specs a high-end device should hit. However, there is something that varies between devices: How a phone feels or the quality of build.
Sometimes the tech world surprises us, and yesterday’s announcement that Google sold Motorola to Lenovo was just another example. At the same time, let’s not forget that the same people that were shocked yesterday were almost equally as shocked when Google bought Motorola for a lot more than they sold them for. Now that Google decided to divorce so quickly, it almost seems as if this marriage was a result of a drunken Las Vegas weekend. Or maybe both parties had the right intentions, but just like with many marriages, they don’t always work out. So you part ways, and keep the stuff that you want and move on. That’s exactly what Google did.
So why did Google buy Motorola in the first place? Was it the patents? Everyone seems to think so, but if that was the case, couldn’t they have just bought the damn patents? I am sure patents were part of the equation, but Motorola was an American innovative company that had a lot of talent. Google knew of things that Motorola was working on long before we reported on them (ie modular phones), and they probably thought the organization would make a great fit. However, Google was never a hardware company, so they allowed it to run separately.
With Android, there is never a shortage of phones, but only a handful can be considered for the best of the year. It’s never an easy pick, but that isn’t a bad thing because it means Android fans have choice. Last year, each of us here at Talk Android made our picks for 2012, so we decided to do it again for 2013. Will we all agree, or will each of us pick something completely different? I was actually surprised at the result. Hit the break to find out what each of us picked.
The Moto X $150 promo ended on Monday, and I know a lot of you weren’t able to snag one. Thankfully our own Jack Holt was able to snag one, and we are giving it away to one of our lucky readers. This coupon code is good for a $150 discount on the Moto X off contract price. That would bring your total to $349 for the 16GB model or $399 for the 32GB model.
All you have to do is comment below telling us what you want for the holidays other than a Moto X. You have until tomorrow, December 12 at 11:59pm EST to get your entry in. On December 13, we will pick one random winner and email them the code, so be sure you are using a real email address for your account. The code expires on Monday, December 16 at 11:59pm EST. Good Luck!!!
Update: And the winners is Eric Moyer. Congratulations!! We are sending your code to the email associated with your account.
Following the Galaxy Note 3 announcement, Samsung pulled the wraps off the Galaxy Gear Smartwatch. It looks like a very cool device, but the bad news is that it’s only compatible with the Galaxy Note 3. Eventually, the Galaxy S 4 and Galaxy Note II will be added, but no plans for other Android devices.
It connects via Bluetooth using the Samsung Galaxy Gear app. They didn’t specifically say, but it appears to use the new Bluetooth LE standard as part of Android 4.3, which is probably the reason why the Note 3 is the only compatible device.
It features a 1.63-inch (320 x 320) display, a 1.9MP camera, and battery that promises to last a full day. You can even answer your calls with it.
Hit the break to see it in action.
After many months of leaks, we finally got to see the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in all its glory. Samsung held events in both Berlin and New York City to celebrate with their typical pomp and circumstance. They say if you grab the device it will grab you back.
Thanks to the very thin bezel, the width of the Note 3 has a larger display (5.7-inches vs 5.5-inches) despite the phone being the same width as the Note II.
Although Samsung is known for giving you the best specs available, it’s always more about the features. The Note 3 sports an improved S Pen and the newest features revolve around a dot, circle, and box.
By hovering the S Pen over the screen until a dot appears, you can access Air Command by pressing the button on the S Pen. It’s a quick menu to such features like Action Note and Scrapbook. With Scrapbook, you can draw a circle around anything you want to save to your personal scrapbook. Next up is the Pen Window, which adds to Samsung’s Multi Window feature. Just draw a box on your display and you will be able to open certain apps from within this box for enhanced multitasking.
Hit the break for a look at these features in our hands on video from NYC.
The Chromecast was announced with a heavy amount of fanfare. Obviously the price played a major role in that, but it was also because many of us envisioned unlimited possibilities. However, it might not be the device we were all hoping for. As of right now, all Chromecast development is at a standstill since the Google Cast SDK is only for whitelisted devices. But Koushik Dutta was able to break that and release his own app called AllCast, which
can play video from your Gallery, Dropbox, and Drive. Unfortunately, Google’s latest update to the Chromcast disabled the ‘video_playback’ support from his application so it won’t work.
The “Exploded Andy” t-shirt will always be a fan favorite, but it’s time for the next installment. Earlier, we revealed “Andy Inside” as the sequel, and it’s a dandy. You can order yours today for $17, but you can also enter our contest for a chance to win one. Deon Briggs was gracious enough to provide five shirts for our awesome readers.
To enter, all you have to do is head over to our forum post and tell us what phone you’re currently using. You must be a U.S. resident and you have until Thursday, August 22 at 11:59PM EST time to enter. On Friday, we will pick five random winners. Be sure to use a real email address because that is how we will contact you. Good luck!!
Click here to enter the contest
Click here to order “Android Inside”
And the winners are……
I am sending you each an email. Just reply back with your name, address, phone number, and shirt size.
Thank you all for playing and look for another contest from TalkAndroid soon!!
Most of the tech bloggers were given an opportunity yesterday to customize a Moto X using a Beta version of Motomaker. We already did a thorough hands on at the Motorola event a couple of weeks ago so I didn’t take this opportunity to give you another boring hands on. I decided to bring my 4-year old son along for the ride and let him customize it the way he wanted. This video isn’t going to be as professional as my other videos, but it is an example of someone diving right in without playing with it for an hour before turning on the camera. We just opened the site, went through our selections, and order it. We didn’t get into the engravings or the wallpapers, but you can see more about that stuff in our previous hands on.
I have to be honest in saying that ordering a custom phone was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Motorola might be onto something really big here as I can see a lot of people having a blast with it. Plus, the Motomaker site is very easy to use. Unfortunately, it’s only available with the AT&T version, but hopefully it will open up to more carriers soon. Hit the break to see what my son came up with.
LG finally took the wraps off the G2 today in New York City. Due to a plethora of leaks, there wasn’t much to learn about the G2 other than a few UX features. The 5.2-inch Full HD IPS display is absolutely gorgeous and the device appears to be pretty snappy thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC. Specs aside, the G2 is about “Learning from you” with many customization features such as slide-to-slide to making things really quick and easy with Text Link.
The 5.2-inch display is very big, so one handed use is always a concern. LG has your back. With the backside volume and power buttons, it will be easy for you to use this massive phone with one hand. LG found that most people keep set their index finger at the back of the phone when using it so it seemed natural to put the controls there. Of course the .10-inch bezel helps keep the overall size at bay.
Other new features include KnockOn, which allows you to turn on your display with a knock knock on the display. Answer Me will turn down your ringer and answer your phone automatically as you bring it closer to your ear. You will also find some of the familiar stuff like QSlide and QRemote (on G Pro). It’s time to stop the talking and see what this beast is all about. Hit the break for the complete hands on.
We pretty much knew everything about the Moto X from all the leaks and last week’s DROID announcement. There was really nothing to be surprised about except for one thing, and that one thing happens to be the biggest disappointment with the phone: the price. We heard rumors of $299 off contract, which made perfect sense based on the specs of the phone. Instead we got $199 on contract. I’m sorry, but that is way overpriced when you consider the Galaxy S 4 and the HTC One have better specs and are priced the same.
Motorola might argue that the Moto X will give the user a better user experience with it latest features, clear pixel camera, and battery performance, but it doesn’t take away that the specs are subpar and don’t warrant the same price as other phones that offer more. I was absolutely shocked when Rick Osterloh announced the pricing and said that it would not be available in the Google Play Store. I was sure that it would be offered for $299 and carriers would offer it on contract for either free or at worst, $99. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Word is that Motorola is working on a cheaper version of the phone. Cheaper? This one is already perfect, just price it right.
Sure you can go into a carrier store and pick out a black or white Moto X, but how much fun is that? The real fun is choosing one of 18 colors for the back plate. You can even choose a different color for the accents. If you really want to get personal, you can add your name to the back plate as well. You can do all this and so much more with the motomaker website. Among customizing the outside appearance you can also add a message for the boot screen and pick what wallpaper you want to be the default when the device is shipped. It’s really quite simple. Motorola reps were comparing it to building your own car. Some of us have a closer relationship with our phones so why not make it more personal by getting what you want?
After many months of speculation and leaks, we finally got our hands on the Moto X. It’s being touted as the phone that Responds To You, is Made For You, and is Designed By You. Motorola and Google really felt that smartphones today are powerful, but unfortunately not all that smart. They set out to create something different and I think they nailed it.
The processor is scaring away the hardcores, but this phone is plenty fast. The x8 mobile computing system may include a dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro, but it’s so much more. With the included quad-core Adreno 32p GPU, and two additional cores for natural language and contextual processing, the Moto X is going to give you solid performance in not only speed, but battery life. Speaking of battery, it’s has 2,200mAh, which doesn’t sound like much, but it will give you 24 hours of use.
On top of that, you get an amazing camera with Clear Pixel technology and the ability to search, set a reminder, set your alarm, call someone, and open apps, and so much more without every touching the device. It’s time to finally see the Moto X in action. Hit the break to check it out.
We finally got our hands on the new DROID line from Motorola and Verizon. The “RAZR” name is officially gone so they are simply called the DROID Mini, DROID Ultra, and DROID MAXX. It looks like these phones are going to be very similar to the Moto X in that it’s all about the features and ease of use rather than the specs. As to specs, we are looking at a display of 4.3-inches for the Mini at 720p (1280 x 720) and 5.0-inches for both the Ultra and MAXX, also at 720p (1280 x 720). All models feature the Motorola x8 mobile computing system that features 8 cores, but it’s not an octa-core. It has 2 app cores, 4 graphics cores, 1 contextual core, and 1 natural language core. Basically it’s a 1.7GHz dual-core processor. All models include 2GB of RAM and the Mini and Ultra get 16GB of storage, while the MAXX gets 32GB. You won’t find a microSD slot on any of the models. All three models will also feature a 10MP front camera and a 2MP front camera. The camera features clear pixel technology for faster processing and better low light performance. As to battery, the Mini has 2,000mAh, the Ultra has 2,130mAh, and the MAXX has 3,500mAh. You can expect 24 hours from both the Mini and the Ultra, while the MAXX will give you 48 hours.
Recently, Electronic Arts launched The Simpsons: Tapped Out game in the Amazon Appstore, and they skinned a few Kindle Fires to celebrate. We happen to have one of them thanks to Electronic Arts, and we are giving it away to one of our lucky readers. It’s the 7-incher with 8GB of internal storage.
All you have to do is comment below telling us who your favorite character on the show is. It couldn’t be any easier. You have until Monday, July 8th at 12:00pm EST. We will then select one winner at random. Just make sure the email address in your account is a real one because that is how we are going to contact you.
BTW, if you’re not familiar with The Simpsons: Tapped Out game, you need to check it out. It’s actually one of Jack Holt’s favorite games. The game’s premise is that Homer accidentally caused a meltdown wiping out Springfield. It’s a city building game, and you guessed it, you need to help rebuild Springfield. It’s a free download in the Amazon Appstore or the Google Play Store.
We have a couple of more images after the break.