By day, I manage a bunch of very talented software developers, and along the way I get to run our software on a wide variety of mobile devices. I like the creativity and innovation of our industry. I thought I’d offer a review of some current products and point out the things I find delightful. This isn’t intended to be a systematic comparison; I’m just highlighting the particular things I like.
- Right now, the Motorola Moto X is the one current device that strikes me as downright pleasant every time I pick it up. The curve of the back and the rubbery texture make it feel really thin but easy to hold. It feels like a mini — my thumb reaches everywhere, just like the iPhone 5 commercial — but that’s a 4.7″ screen with tiny bezel. I find the voice recognition clever and I like the innovation expressed in the second processor always-on architecture that supports it. The camera double-twist gesture feels clever too.
- It reminds me of the Kindle E-Ink devices, and even now, every time I pick up our old Kindle Keyboard, I still marvel at the lightness of the form and the pleasant experience. I know how out-of-date our old one is but, nonetheless, it’s the beginning of a beautiful series of devices. (The Kindle Fire tablet devices are OK, but the heavier weight, squarish edges, and hunting for buttons leaves them out of my “wow” category.)
- The LG G2 is another thin large (5.2″) narrow-bezel screen that still feels pocket size, not a purse-size phablet. The high-contrast skinning is pretty good and a little different. They took a risk with the buttons on back (I’d prefer them further from the camera).
- Indeed, the Apple iphone 5/5s/5c is a well-balanced device, also in the mini class by today’s standards. Beautiful display. As a developer, I enjoy the lack of frangmentation due to single-vendor support of old devices and a forced march to update the operating system. Mature APIs especially in the audio area are a big help, especially for VoIP app developers.
- The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a workhorse. There’s nothing to dislike. I like large screens, and a plastic back doesn’t bother me. I tend to favor simplifying my life with the Google Edition. I know that many people favor metal backs as evidence of “build quality”, but I don’t get it. (The HTC ONE is a fine device if that’s important to you.)