What are you thankful for in the world of Android? What made your life better in the past year?

November 29, 2013
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Friday Debate aa (1)

In this edition of the Friday Debate, we discuss the developments in the world of technology that made us a bit happier this year. While not all of us celebrate Thanksgiving and most of our readers are from outside the US, we thought that now it’s a good time to talk about the things we’re grateful for.

So, what happened over the last year in the world of mobile technology that you are thankful for? What are the big changes (or the small ones) that made your life better?

Join us in the discussion, vote in our poll, and sound off in the comments!

Adam Koueider

While there have been more than a few things mobile-related which made me smile this year, for the sake of brevity, I’ll cut it down to my favourite app (Timely) and my favourite device (Chromecast).

Timely is simply the epitome of what every mobile app should aspire to be. It’s beautiful, functional and intuitive, and these three traits very rarely show up in pairs, let alone all three at the same time. Now I know what you’re thinking. “It’s just a clock/alarm/timer/stopwatch app, it doesn’t need to be good looking” and you’d be right to a certain extent. However, this is one app that makes me WANT to use it. It pulls me in and sometimes I’m caught setting alarms just to play with the app. Timely’s additional features like a challenge to make sure you’re fully awake, add to the experience and all in all, this is one app that always, and I mean always, leaves a smile on my face once I click that home button.

My second choice is the Chromecast and it’s a device which I really like to use, but is a little polarizing at the same time. While Chromecast is great at what it can do now, you can’t help but imagine how great its potential really is. Google got all the basics right. Intuitiveness: Check. Price: Double check. Functionality: Yeah, not so fast. Chromecast is great at streaming Youtube videos from my phone to my TV, as well as music and TV shows and movies, but I can’t help but feel as if it’s yet to reach its full potential. I can’t wait to see the Chromecast SDK to get into the hands of developers.

An honorable mention goes out to Android smartphone cameras (those have improved astronomically in the past year or so). We live in exciting times, and mobile technology is improving in leaps and bounds, but sometimes it’s the little things (like the tiny design tweaks in Timely) that remind us to be grateful about what we already have. But you know, I’m always up for MOAR CORES, MOAR MEGAPIXELS, and all of that nonsense next year.

Robert Triggs

I’d like to give (yet another) hat tip to the good folks who dedicate part of their time to porting and sustaining unique, tweaked, and customised versions of and Android, especially those still working on less up to date models. No matter my personal preference for custom ROMs, I greatly appreciate the longevity afforded to my aging handset by all of these hardworking groups and individuals.

As I’m still using a Samsung Galaxy S2 I can’t say much about technological innovations that have made my life easier, but the various incremental upgrades to Google’s Android services and software have certainly made day to day things more convenient. From the integration of tube times with Google Maps, to adding SMS support to Hangouts, Google has continued to be my number one call for pretty much every mobile service I require.

I think that Google is doing a pretty good job on the hardware front too, although I haven’t made my way around to making any purchases, yet. The new line of Nexus products are certainly causing other manufactures to pause for thought, and the downward pressure on prices is certainly a good thing for consumers looking to make their next purchase. And I agree with Adam regarding the Chromecast, I think it’s possibly one of the best innovations this year.

Bogdan Petrovan

First, I am grateful for the dream job that I have, reading and writing about Android and technology, and for being a part of a great team of likeminded people.

It’s been a busy year in the world of tech, and most changes have been for the better. So I am thankful for that, for the steady rhythm of growth, for the small advancements and the massive leaps, for the things we notice and for those that happen without us ever realizing it.

I am grateful for Google, which is, I believe, a company ran by visionary people that strive to deliver not the best possible product, but the product that has the highest impact on the world. Project Loon, Fiber, Glass, and who knows what else is cooking inside Google’s X skunkworks division are all examples of projects that no other company of Google’s stature would even dream of trying. I am happy to see Google applying its moonshot philosophy to extend and improve human life, through Calico. I am excited about Google’s neural networks and quantum computing programs, and I am sure in a few years Google will really make the Star Trek computer a reality.

On a more down to earth level, I appreciate the Nexus program and the Moto G, which is again Google going against the status quo. What other company could even afford, never mind want to sacrifice profits that way in the name of a greater long term goal?

Now that we’ve established that I am Google fanboy, I am also thankful for all the other technology companies that delight and surprise us with their work. Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, BlackBerry, everybody. Technology makes life so much better, regardless of who makes it, and I am grateful for that.

Joe Hindy

I’m not entirely sure how to answer the question because, like hippies, I appreciate everything. I love what I do, who I do it with, all the stuff we get to play with, and all the people who come to check it out every day. So I’m grateful for all of it. As all bloggers know and all readers should know, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do for a living if it weren’t for our viewers and readers. So thanks guys. You make all the difference!

In the spirit of the question, though, what am I grateful for in mobile technology? First, the widespread improvement of OEM skins. Having Samsung, HTC, LG, and others improve their UX makes Android as a whole more competitive and provides a myriad of options and experiences. At the end of the day, it’s that option that truly makes Android better than the competition. So I am most grateful that internal competition continues to improve the experience for everyone.

On the other side of things, I’m most grateful to the Google Play Store. I spend a few hours a day there finding fun apps to review and add to lists (sometimes I just read app descriptions and user ratings for fun. Really). Google has put forth a lot of changes in the last year that’s made it beautiful and easy to navigate. But more than that, I’m grateful to Google itself and all the developers in the Google Play Store. Without them always trying to make the platform better, build better apps, develop better games, and create better experiences, I literally wouldn’t be able to do what I love to do every day. It’s the best job I’ve ever had and I couldn’t do it with the hard work of all these developers. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all of those people.

It’s been an amazing year for me personally and for us as a website and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!

What do YOU think?

Join us in the comments and vote in our poll.

What recent development in mobile tech are you grateful for?

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Comments

  • Jono Killops

    Ingress. In the past year, I was introduced to Ingress and am now an area Lead for the Enlightened. It’s been amazing and wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Android, Google, Niantic, and the amazing tools & folk that come along with it. All about connections, working together and embracing technology to make things happen.

  • Ilia Bikhovski

    The better-late-than-never realization on behalf of the human race that the Apple devices in general and the iPhone in particular is no longer the “Jesus phone” made from diamonds glued by unicorn tears. Sure, the world was getting fed up with Apple for awhile now, but it wasn’t until iOS 7’s plethora of bugs that the masses finally understood that Android is now cool and iOS is outdated.

    Sent from my SGS3, i9300, SlimBean 4.3.1 build 2. :)

    • Apple_Nexus

      Why is it that some android fans aren’t happy unless they’re slagging off Apple? If you’re happy with your Android device then why all the attention to Apple?

      What are all those bugs you’re talking about BTW? I’ve been using iOS 7 since the official release and haven’t encountered any issues.

      Wish Apple had copied gesture keyboard. That’s the one feature I keep coming back to my Android tablet for.

      • Ilia Bikhovski

        Yeah, try saying that to a die-hard soccer/baseball/basketball fan. I’m sure that he will kindly agree with you that there is no place for hatred for the opposing team in his noble heart.

        As for iOS 7 bugs:
        http://www.phonearena.com/news/iOS-7-a-bug-infested-mess-or-simply-a-work-in-progress_id47928

        • Apple_Nexus

          Ah, got it! You think Android is a sports team.

          ;)

          • Ilia Bikhovski

            No mate :)

            I think that Android is a side in a two-sided battle which is going on in the industry. On the one hand you got open source, freedom, free stuff, fair business practices, innovation, friendly attitude towards competitors, product variety and choice. That’s what Android – and Google for most part – stand for.

            On the other hand you got closed source, DRM, device draconian restrictions and limitations, overpriced hardware and software, 0 product choice, proprietary apps and services, lack of support for common world-wide standards, enforcement of own services to be used on one’s product, sacrifice of functionality in favor of enforcing a design philosophy, control-based business strategy, obsession with patents and “I was here before” mentality, lawsuits, bullish business practices, lack of adherence to local laws and regulations, hostile attitude towards competitors and product recycling with minimal improvements. That is what Apple stands for.

            Microsoft is somewhere between these two.

            This isn’t one sports team winning over another. This is how our digital life will look like – depending on which side wins.

  • MasterMuffin

    More quality Android devices and custom ROM makers who keep supporting old phones!

    • APai

      absolutely! my thanks, salute & gratitude to all the developers, take a bow, job well done, keep going :)

      seriously, the developers have done a greatjob with custom ROMs and keeping the old phones spritely

  • jbox

    For Android, I like recent ART in KitKat. It has potential. I hope google keep improving ART in next Android iteration.
    I also like recent Hangout integration with SMS. I use Hangout more now than other messaging app (im+, kakao, wechat, etc)

    Although not related to Android, but mobile tech in general, I like recent intel baytrail processor that give birth to cheap $300 full Win8.1 tablet :)

  • Azeem

    Lots of custom rom support.

  • APai

    I am thankful for the growth in android world, and thankful that microsoft did not get a leg up. I hope that they get buried simply because I’d much rather have firefox/ jolla or someone who is friendly to customers or companies have possibilities to take the code and do something you cannot do in case of microsoft’s closed system. we have had decades of microsoft’s strangle hold on the desktop, i would not want ANYTHING like that happening to the mobile OS. cheers to android and people voting for anything else than microsoft.

  • fredderator

    What I love about Android is it has most of the apps I need. there are a lot of things I can do with it all in just one device.