Last week I wrote a story about my thoughts on where I think the Nexus line is headed. Google was never a hardware company, but when Android was at its infancy, Google got into it for investing in cutting edge hardware along with their partners to guide the ecosystem. Fast forward to now and things have changed a lot. Google no longer needs to guide the ecosystem. Companies like Samsung, HTC, LG, and Sony are doing just fine in investing in the latest and greatest. It is this reason that I believe Google will not release a Nexus phone moving forward, and instead, let OEM’s release Nexus Editions for their current hardware. The reason for all of this is quite simple, Google isn’t a hardware company, they are an advertising and service company.
A recent article at DigiTimes suggests that my conclusions were right. They are reporting that Google will cut a lot of the resources and money they have spent on handset development and shift it to improving its software and core business. Just take a look at this year’s Google I/O for further evidence. Hardware was never mentioned other than the Galaxy S 4 Nexus Edition. Yes, the reason was because they wanted to “concentrate on developers” since it is a developer conference, but it’s obvious that hardware isn’t going to be the focal point anymore, at least for handsets. They will still invest resources in other newer and developing technologies like Google Glass, set top TV boxes, and smartwatches.
Yesterday at the D11 Conference, Android and Chrome head Sundar Pichai unveiled the HTC One Google Experience phone, which is now the second phone like this to be announced. The next obvious question from Walt Mossberg was, “Does that mean you aren’t going to make anymore Nexus devices?” Pichai answered by saying the goal behind Nexus was to invest in cutting edge hardware along with their partners to guide the ecosystem. He closed by saying “That will continue as well.” Correct me if I am wrong, but the word “phone” was never mentioned. I heard “devices”.
Let’s rewind to October of last year when a report from AndroidandMe said that the LG Nexus was on the way and a new Nexus Program was in the works. The rumor was that Google opened the Nexus program to all OEMs. Based on these latest phones from Samsung and HTC, it’s safe to say that this rumor held true. There were some things about it that were wrong as in the OEM skins (TouchWiz and Sense) would be part of a customization center, but it appears Google is heading into a different direction with the Nexus program.
I know there has been so much speculation on if we will see the HTC One on Verizon, and if history repeats itself, we won’t ever see it. What we will see is a Verizon’s version of the Butterfly 2 (or Butterfly S). It could be called the DROID DNA Plus or the DROID DNA 2, but it won’t be a One phone. As far as when we will see this bad boy, it will probably be sometime in July. How am I coming to these conclusions? All you really need to do is look at the most recent releases with Verizon regarding HTC devices.
Verizon is on a pattern of releasing two HTC devices per year (July and November). The Rezound was released on November 14, 2011 and the DROID Incredible 4G LTE was released on July 5, 2012. Lastly, the DROID DNA was released on November 21, 2012. The other thing you will notice is that all three phones were exclusives to Verizon, which is what they like. That is probably going to change by the end of this year, but more on that in a bit.
It’s hard to believe that Google I/O is only a couple of weeks away. The conference itself is always a exciting, but you can’t forget the parties either. Lookout’s Annual Kickoff party is always a blast, and we are excited to offer our readers a chance to get a ticket because it’s one you don’t want to miss. If delicious food, unlimited drinks, great entertainment and cool giveaways sounds like fun to you, then you will want to enter this contest right now. We have 10 tickets (plus one guest) to give away and the details are as follows:
When: Tuesday, May 14 at 7:30 pm
Where: Terra Gallery, 511 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA
What: Lookout’s annual Google I/O kickoff party. Drinks will start flowing at 7:30 pm at Terra Gallery in San Francisco and we’ll have tasty food and awesome entertainment. Free giveaways for the first 200 who show up at the door (arrive early: we had a line around the block last year!). *Please note that this event is 21 and over.
The only caveat is that you need to get yourself to San Francisco on your own because travel arrangements are not included.
To enter, just comment below on what you want to see at this year’s Google I/O. Is it a newer Nexus 7, Key Lime Pie, a Nexus Q 2, or something entirely different? We will take entries through May 3rd at 12:00pm EST. We will pick 10 random winners shortly after.
**Be sure to use a real email address for your account because that is how we will contact you.
Congratulations to the following winners….
You will receive an email with instructions shortly, and be sure to say hello because I will be there as well!!
Recent reports have indicated tensions could exist between Google and Samsung, but were downplayed by Google CFO and Senior Vice President Patrick Pichette as well as Samsung Mobile Chief JK Shin. Although their working relationship is probably amicable, I have to believe that there is a little uneasiness at Google. Consumers continue to buy Samsung Galaxy branded phones in droves. So much so that 40% of all Android phones sold are Samsung branded. In fact, Samsung has sold 200 million more phones than the next Android manufacturer.
On one hand, Google should be delighted in what Samsung has accomplished. Android is now a dominating mobile OS, and a big thanks has to go to Samsung for being a big part of that. On the other hand, it’s never a good idea for one entity to have such a large piece of the pie. Companies with too much power can dictate and give less choice to consumers. If Google had their choice, every manufacturer would be equally as successful, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way in the real world.
Around the summer of 2010, my contract was coming to an end and the HTC EVO 4G on Sprint was very appealing. Touted as “America’s first 4G phone”, it featured a large display and great specs at the time. I desperately wanted this phone and every Sprint store, Radioshack, or online store, was out of stock for four to six weeks. With my contract ending in just a couple weeks, the options were simple: Either buy the EVO 4G for full price and then some due to demand, or just grab a Blackberry. Unfortunately, an outdated BlackBerry Curve it was.
You have to hand it to Samsung really. After getting the public to generate unprecedented buzz and pandemonium, Samsung certainly brought in the Galaxy S 4 with a bang thanks to its snazzy Unpacked 2013: Episode I event. Heck— the buzz and excitement caused not one, but two competitors to try and pour salt in Sammy’s coffee, yet Sammy wasn’t deterred. As opposed to the traditional unveilings and demos that we’re used to seeing at keynote events, Samsung instead thought about doing something ummm, “unique” or “different” to say the least by providing a variety of skits, dances and literally theatrics to introduce its new flagship. More importantly, Samsung used its brand name to be out of the box in comparison to its competitors: go into the heart of the Broadway, use one of the world’s largest stages complete with an orchestra, an MC and some sweet live performances to introduce something that is “unique” and different”.
While those of us in attendance were quite impressed (and believe us, Rob Nazarian & I were certainly entertained at the event)— the Galaxy S 4 certainly poses a significant observation of not just the Galaxy S 4, but Samsung as a brand as we know it: Samsung is utilizing the features and more importantly— the marketing of its products to sell its brand. Make no mistake about it: Samsung has made a serious transition going from what was known as a relatively unknown Korean brand to a wannabe Apple competitor to what is perhaps the most exciting and controversial brand to date. The scary thing is this— not only is the transition a success, but everyone else is now playing catchup in terms of brand recognition and excitement.
Tonight at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S IV, which promises to be your life companion for a richer, simpler, and fuller life. If there is one thing Samsung proved tonight, it’s not the specs that sells, it’s the features. Last year it was all about S Beam, S Voice, and AllShare. This year they added a whole lot more such as Dual Camera, Group Play, Share Music, Smart Scroll, Smart Pause, S Voice Drive, WatchOn, S Health, Adapt View, and Adapt Sound. Still, we can’t forget about the specs, and they are impressive with the 5-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display, 1.6GHz Exynos Octa or 1.9GHz Qualcomm quad-core CPU, 2GB of RAM, 16/32/64 GB of storage, microSD slot, 13MP rear camera, 2MP front camera, and 2600mAh battery. What are you waiting for? Hit the break to see our hands on of the Next Big Thing.
All the speculation and rumors can now stop as HTC officially unveiled the new One smartphone in both New York City and London this morning. I can say that it’s one of the best phones ever made with it’s metal construction. It features a 4.7-inch 1080p LCD 3 display at 468ppi, a 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB/64GB of storage, 4 UltraPixel camera, and so much more. The biggest part of the announcement was concentrated on the new Sense 5 (on top of Android 4.1), which includes BlinkFeed, Sense Voice, Sense TV, BoomSound, UltraPixels, and Zoe. Just what do these things do? Check out our full hands on video from the New York show highlighting the hardware and the cool new features of Sense 5. HTC is calling this the greatest phone ever made. What do you guys think? Hit the break to check it out.