rap music from college. this is my greatest contribution to the internet.

Currently reading: “The Everything Store” by Brad Stone. 

Currently reading: “The Everything Store” by Brad Stone. 

The Conscious Home

Now that Google has acquired Nest Labs for a reported $3.2 billion, I’m extremely interested to see what they will do next. As Nest founder & CEO Tony Fadell writes: Google will help us fully realize our vision of the conscious home and allow us to change the world faster than we ever could if we continued to go it alone. We’ve had great momentum, but this is a rocket ship.

As with any Google acquisition, there will be a litany of jokes, but the idea of a “conscious home” is one I find incredibly intriguing. Thermostats, carbon monoxide detectors, and keyless entry are just the beginning. When coupled with really great design, these types of products will have limitless potential.

It’s estimated that by 2020, 26 billion devices will be connected to the internet. Count me in for a future of smart lights and appliances. Wearable technology is another compelling sector for connected devices. I look forward to a day when a device like my Jawbone UP will be able take my vitals, learn my habits, and make personalized exercise and lifestyle recommendations. We will be able to look back and laugh at the day we thought counting steps was an innovation. And that is awesome. 

Tangent: Larry Page is a badass. Since he assumed the role of Google’s CEO in 2011, they have been a really interesting company to follow (not that they weren’t prior). To highlight some of the more interesting moves: Google Ventures ramp up (highlighted by the Uber investment), self-driving cars, Chromecast, and the acquisitions of Motorola, Waze, Boston Dynamics, and now Nest.

Special thanks to my friend Lance Gutin for reading a draft of this post.

Loving Android: A 90 Day Recap

While in college I was fortunate enough to have a part-time sales job with Verizon Wireless during the early days of modern smartphones. My first day on the job was nearly 4 months after Apple released their first generation iPhone. Thanks to Apple’s exclusive deal with AT&T, I had a lot of hands on experience with second rate devices that included, among others: the Palm Treo700W and the Blackberry Curve.

It would take Verizon two years to land a device that could sort of go toe-to-toe with an iPhone (at this time, Apple had already released the 3GS). In November 2009, Verizon started selling the Motorola Droid and the HTC Droid Eris. I immediately took my Blackberry to a farm upstate and began using the Droid Eris (I thought trackballs were really, really cool…sue me).

I immediately fell in love with Android’s potential. You could seemingly do anything you wanted. I even nerded out and rooted my phone so I could over-clock it’s processor. But while it was apparent what Android could become, it wasn’t quite there yet. The operating system was wonky at times, but where Android at the time really felt short was in hardware. The camera quality was marginal at best, the battery life was a disaster, and when compared to an iPhone, Android devices were ugly.

So the day I left Verizon I sold out, switched my carrier to AT&T, and bought a gorgeous iPhone 4. It was pretty obvious that at that point in time, the iPhone was just better. Anytime Apple would release a new model, I would upgrade (I think I had 3 different iPhones in 3 years). While I loved the iPhone and iOS, parts of the experience were lacking. None of my favorite or most used apps were default Apple apps (with the exception of iMessage). I was using Mailbox for email, Google Maps for directions, Sunrise for calendar, Chrome for web browsing, Spotify for music, and Dropbox to store photos. Only Apple makes it impossible to truly use these services as your defaults. I found I was no longer enamored with the iPhone / iOS experience.

In September 2013 I began to consider switching back to an Android device. I started researching and stumbled upon Paul Stamatiou's post on why Android is better. That post swayed me. So I purchased a used Samsung Galaxy S4 off craigslist and gave Android a second chance.

I’m glad I did. 

The battery life is as good, if not better than my iPhone 5. Being able to truly customize my Android experience has been awesome. I use SwiftKey as my keyboard, Hangouts as my default SMS app, and Cover to replace my lock screen. And for most popular apps, there is a high quality Android version (this certainly wasn’t true in 2009).* I love being able to use my phone the way I want to.**

If you’ve been considering giving Android a shot, I highly recommend it. Let me know what you think: tweet at me.

*I haven’t found a Twitter client for Android as nice as Tweebot. I’m afraid I never will. There are still a few popular apps that are iOS exclusive such as FrontBack, and QuizUp. 

**For a later post, I plan on diving deeper in to some of the Android niceties.