Category Archives: Google

My First Hour with Google’s Nexus 4

I’m very grateful that T-Mobile stepped up and helped me unbox the Nexus 4 live on YouTube today! Without the fine folks there, viewers would have been forced to watch me drool over the hardware in silence.

Nexus 4

  • Android 4.2: Snappiest / most buttery Android device I’ve used. I’m not just saying that either. You won’t believe this is an Android phone with the visible perf it’s pushing down the pike.
  • Screen Feel: My fingers glide across the glass (I LOVE it); slightly less friction than iPhone 5.
  • Screen Text: Clear — it’s very close to a Retina display, but not quite there in every instance (white text over a colored background shows a bit of fuzziness on the text edges). Still very nice.
  • Screen Images: Vibrant, good representation of color. This is a great screen for media consumption.
  • Chrome: Very smooth scroll, pinch-to-zoom drops frames. Enjoyable browsing. It still hates The Verge’s desktop site, though.
  • Still Camera: Fine (undersaturated, noisy in low light), worse than iPhone 5. Moreover, I’ve seen plenty of purple flare with the lens — so all of those non-iPhone 5 owners people who whined about the flare on newer Apple hardware should be eating crow right now.
  • HDR: Slow, imbalanced color output (currently very unoptimized). I wound up producing a few very blurry photos (which turned out to be inadvertently artsy) because I thought it was finished and it wasn’t.
  • Maps: Extremely responsive, smooth zooms. Plus, it’s great data underneath.
  • Google+ App: Scrolls more smoothly than the iOS version (?!). Yes, I use Google+ every day.
  • Fingerprints: Hello? It’s a smartphone. 🙂
  • Feel in hand: Incredibly light. That was my first reaction. Nice.
  • Single-hand operation: A bit of a stretch, but certainly workable.
  • Default Messages: Messaging, Messenger, Talk (quite a mess, confusing). Google needs to clean up the various default options ASAP.
  • Gmail: Fluid (“Hide pictures in messages” only has a “Yes” option). I can’t stand Google+ email notifications on Android.
  • Rear Speaker: Tinny (voice-optimized?), muted (tolerable) while on a surface. Seriously, I wouldn’t use this for anything other than voice.
  • Photosphere: Meh. Far from seamless; color-imbalanced between frames. Very user-friendly software, though!

My gut tells me: This is a fantastic smartphone for the price and plan(s). Great Android phone, folks.

Android is the New Windows

I mean that in the most polite way, too. 🙂

There’s a reason that Android is the most widely used smartphone platform today — just like there’s a reason that Windows is still the most widely used platform on desktop computers today.

You never heard an argument from me; it was inevitable that Android (or another competitor) would overtake iOS with a licensing strategy.

There are certainly more Windows PCs out there, but people haven’t stopped buying Macs — and Apple hasn’t stopped being profitable with them.

iOS devices will continue to be purchased and used by a segment of the market that spends money (a great market to corner for semi-obvious reasons). Even if Apple only continued to produce those iOS devices for its Mac customer base, it’d still remain profitable — though wouldn’t sell as many as it would have without competition.

Just because you sell more doesn’t mean you have the “best” product, either.

To me, the question isn’t “will Apple be destroyed” as much as it is “can Microsoft catch up?”

Google Chrome is a Dog

I love Google Chrome. It’s my default (or go-to) browser on just about any platform. It’s feature-packed and always-up-to-date.

However, that said, it’s a performance dog on damn near every OS. Honestly, how Google could let performance remain on the bottom of the stack for so long is beyond me. Sure, it executes JavaScript quick as lightning, but… let me just tell you where I’m getting ready to drop-kick Google Chrome to the curb.

On OS X, despite both browsers relying on WebKit as the foundation, Safari’s desktop performance blows Chrome out of the water. In Safari, I don’t really have to worry about dropped frames or stuttery / laggy scrolling. Google+ seems to buckle Chrome’s ability to cope – ironic, eh?

Then there’s Android. Why not use Google Chrome there? I mean, it’s Google’s + Google’s – right? I couldn’t stand opening up the browser on my Nexus 7 because it has just been a god-awful experience compared to other tablet platforms which have no issue when it comes to scrolling. There’s nothing smooth about Google Chrome on Android. It’s just as much of a slug on ChromeOS, too.

So, here we have bad performance with Google on Google.

It wasn’t until my community recommended that I try the free Dolphin browser on Android that I really saw just how bad Chrome has been – or, more to the point, just how inconsistent an Android experience can be for a user (and between various apps on the same platform).

In 5 seconds, Dolphin changed my experience with browsing the web on Android – and it puts Chrome’s performance, once again, to shame. If you don’t believe me, download Dolphin for Android and head over to The Verge’s web site. Then, visit the same site from Google Chrome for Android. The difference, I can pretty much assure you, is astounding.

So, uh… what’s up, Google? When you gonna start making this less stuttery on all platforms? I’m begging you. 🙂