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

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?
November 29, 2013
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.

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