Category: Motorola

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The Grados Prayer in C

While no geek, I still appreciate good tech. Nexus 6 and Grado Labs RS1e headphones are two of my four best acquisitions made since summer 2014, and both will be reviewed—ah, someday soon. The others: Fujifilm X100T used to take the above photo and Chromebook Pixel LS received two days ago.

Too often, the measure of quality cans is classical music. Bah! Modern headphones should encompass a complete tonal range—not just the highs of the great dead composers’ violins or the lows from the thumping bass preferred by the Beats generation. Fullness and roundness are exactly what the RS1e deliver to my aging ears. Today, I listened to a song surprisingly showing the headphones’ tonality, streamed from Google Music to, yeah, the N6. 

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The Best Phone You Can Buy is the One You can Afford

I can attest firsthand to the rising health-care costs everyone talks about. My mom went to hospital on January 30th for outpatient surgery. Still woozy from anesthesia, she left her Nokia Lumia Icon Windows Phone in the bed’s blankets. The hospital ships the linens to Canada for cleaning, and, well—cue the violins—that handset is gone to cellphone heaven or into someone’s greedy, grubby hands. Wouldn’t you know, Medicare won’t cover the cost of replacing the phone.

Yeah, I’m being facetious. It helps mellow my frustration buying her a replacement mobile. Mom is done with Windows Phone and must satisfy with an older Android. This post explains why, and how during a big week of new smartphone announcements she gets a—cough, cough—2013 model. 

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The Smartwatch isn’t a Dumb Idea

Over the holiday weekend, I started using the Moto 360, which user experience is way better than anticipated. (My old watch is left in the photo.) For all the nutcases calling Apple Watch innovative and revolutionary—without there even being a device for them to test—Android Wear is, ah, timely. Google gives great utility that will be difficult for the fruit-logo company to match. Reasons are simple: Context, search, sync, UI design, and Google Now.

I resisted the smartwatch concept for having been there before. Few of the gadget geeks gushing about wearables are old enough to remember Microsoft SPOT. Mid-last decade, the company partnered with real watchmakers (Fossil, Suunto, and Swatch); the devices were as much jewelry as functional timepieces; FM radio delivered appointments, news, weather, and other alerts independent of cell phones; and battery life lasted three days or more (which wasn’t enough). By these measures, SPOT watches were so much more and still failed. Hence, these are reasons why in past analyses I called the decade-later attempt dumb. But I was wrong. 

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iPhone, Android, and the Need to Belong

Outside Apple Store, people excitedly line up to buy iPhone 6. The crowd is remarkably eclectic. Tattoos here. Mohawk there. Someone wearing a prim business suit chats with a burly biker wearing sleeveless T-Shirt. Everyone’s clothes beam bright, vibrant colors. Loud laughter and uproarious chatter is everywhere. This is one happy group of buyers.

The store’s doors exit onto a green pasture of sheep. Each wears a chain around its neck, with iPhone 6 attached. Cow bells appear on the screens, and clanging sounds against the chirping of birds. One animal looks up: “Baaaaaaa!” Then another, and another. An announcer asks: “Do you really want to be an iSheep?” Then the Android logo and robot flash across the screen.

That’s the kind of TV commercial Google and/or its manufacturing partners need to air now that in the United States iPhone market share nudges ahead of Android handsets (fourth quarter 2014, according to Kantar Worldpanel Comtech). Such circumstance was unfathomable 12 months ago. What happens in the four quarters ahead depends much on who wins the mindshare wars. I got to admit: Apple’s lead is momentous. 

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My First Nexus 6 Photo

Happy Caturday! Neko is the subject of the first photo shot using my new Nexus 6—last night around 6:30 pm. The room wasn’t well-illuminated, being dark outside, but an IKEA floor lamp did cast some light upon him. I wondered how good a shooter the smartphone could be, given its large size and Moto X’s so-so camera.

The photo was quickly taken and it’s arguably not the best composition. But in auto-mode, using the Google Camera app, Nexus 6 responded quickly—and the photo looks like what my eye saw. Vitals: f/2, ISO 314, 1/30 sec, 3.82mm. 

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Nexus 6 First Impressions

About five hours ago, UPS delivered the Motorola-made Google Nexus 6. I ordered online yesterday afternoon from T-Mobile, for expedited delivery, expecting two-day shipping but getting one (under-promise, over-deliver is good customer service). T-Mo only sells the Midnight Blue model, and I chose 64GB capacity.

I could order from the carrier because we still have one line there, on a low-cost plan, which won’t change. The clarification is important because I popped in my Verizon SIM. It is my understanding that T-Mobile sells the same Nexus 6 as either Google or Motorola. Any carrier customization occurs during setup with the SIM card inserted. So far Verizon services seems to function normally. 

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Waiting for Nexus 6

My Apple exodus and return to the Google lifestyle progress at rapid pace. I am full-time back on Chromebook after buying the Toshiba model one week ago. Whoa, it feels so much longer. Selling my MacBook Pro paid for the laptop, and another for my wife, with some proceeds remaining. I also use Nexus 9 tablet, replacing iPad Air (which is Craigslisted but not sold). Today, I await delivery of Nexus 6, which replaces iPhone 6.

A law-enforcement officer bought the Apple smartphone, which sale exactly covers cost of the N6. This morning, I am without any handset, waiting for UPS to deliver the Motorola-made Google phablet, which I purchased from T-Mobile. Google Play and Motorola are sold out, although during the time yesterday when placing my order, Play Store had the 32GB N6 in stock; both colors! 

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Chromebook Returns

Yesterday afternoon, a San Diego State University student bought my MacBook Pro—13-inch Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD—for $1,100. I purchased the laptop from local dealer DC Computers in late-August 2014 for a few hundred dollars more. The buyer’s interest was my own: Mac, large SSD, and extended warranty (expires April 2017). The photo is one of several from my Craigslist ad.

The proceeds go to buying Toshiba Chromebook 2 (two, another for my wife) and Android phone for her. She moves from iPad Air, which has been, since September 2014, her PC—and that experience should be another story (be patient). If time travel was possible, I would keep, rather than sell, my Chromebook Pixel early last summer. The Chromie lifestyle suits me best, and I am excited to be back to it. However, in December, when reviewing the tech products that changed my digital lifestyle last year, including the switch to Apple’s platforms: “I can’t imagine using anything else”.  I lied to myself, and unintentionally you. 

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Moto X deserves More Respect

Moto X should be one of the most hotly-demanded smartphones on the planet. But Motorola lacks Apple’s skill cultivating core groups of bloggers and journalists who swoon ecstatically and influence others to do the same. For example, I thought Stephen Fry’s outrageously over-the-top adjective-rich iPhone 6 review was hilarious until reading The Register’s parody, which is almost believably genuine.

Motorola bets on voice interaction over touch, making Moto X more like a device from Star Trek than the early 21st Century. Touch is oh-so 1980s—what Apple pitched with the Macintosh 30 years ago—whereas touchless is the next big thing. For people queuing up for iPhone 6 on September 19, welcome to the past. You should consider second version Moto X, which is available for preorder, if reaching to the future. 

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Moto X Developer Edition is Amazing

HTC One is by far the best smartphone I have ever owned. Yet, mine went on Craigslist yesterday and to a mechanic a few hours later; he responded to the listing. Then I paid off the remainder owed to T-Mobile.

Why? After saying I wouldn’t, I bought Moto X Developer Edition. In terms of customer experience, the phone and everything else that goes with it, Moto X is light years ahead of any other mobile to come into my possession—that’s a whole lot of phones over the years. iPhone doesn’t come close. 

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The Problem with Moto X

I remain concerned about Motorola’s choice to launch Moto X with AT&T—the carrier that failed with HTC First (the Facebook phone), like Verizon did with Microsoft Kin, which were targeted at similar audiences. I don’t have Moto X. Motorola graciously provided BetaNews with a review unit, and my colleague Brian Fagioli has that one. A second isn’t available, which is perfectly reasonable.

So my only experience is the AT&T store, yesterday. The sales display impresses. There is a demo phone, iPad with flashy sales info, and selection of back covers so buyers can see exactly what they get if choosing to customize. Cards for the 16GB and 32GB models are there. Grab, pay, and go to Moto Maker site to personal and order the phone.