Starting off 2017 strong in the mobile space is LG. The release of their highly anticipated LG G6 has come with nothing short of high praise from tech reviewers. LG is continuing its production of high quality devices and starts off 2017 in a big way.

Since LG has come on to the mobile phone scene strong since about 2014, it's only fair to have high expectations from such an innovative company. The LG G6 has been a hit across the globe. With its thin, almost non-existent bezels, the LG G6 truly allows consumers to consume more content without worrying about a huge, thick phone.


Looking at the LG G6 above it's clear that LG is moving in the direction of the mobile phone industry in 2017. Small bezels and compact size make this a very tempting device for the power users. It also has a very minimalistic approach to its software, similar to what Motorola and other companies are doing. The front of the display is almost entirely taken up by the screen, while the back is busier than usual with two cameras and a fingerprint scanner. The LG G6 is a radical move from LG's V20 which was just released towards the end of 2016.

LG V20
LG's approach with the V20 was focused towards the camera experience. Critics raved about the features of the camera and the usability of the device for the average consumer. LG also brought back an old favorite a la Samsung with a ticker display on the top of the device. LG took a little bit of the best from the last generation LG G5 and V20 to create the LG G6. The result is a mixture of two great devices.

In 2017 look for LG to release more sub par mid range devices. This is not LG's strong suit, but it helps build their profit margins for the year. Also be looking for a new V devices towards the end of 2017. I may just be speculating, but we might even get to see a sneak peak of a phone that is completely flexible. Right now LG and Samsung are battling to see who will debut the technology first. LG is looking strong in 2017 and should continue through the rest of the year.

2017 will be interesting to see where Google takes Android in the coming year. Google has already released the early developer preview of Android O and is set to take new directions in regards to Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence integration.

Google has been pretty consistent over the last 5 years. In 2015 it released the all so popular Nexus 6P. It was popular because of its affordability and power. It was well received by the tech community, even with some of its drawbacks. It was a great phone and continues to be great phone into a crucial 2017 year for Google.
Nexus 6P 
Going back to 2016, Google took a radically new direction with its mobile phone lineup. Google actually made the device this time. Well not in reality, but from engineering to the software experience it was all Google. Google tapped long time Taiwanese Android phone manufacturer HTC to produce the phone for them. This began the era of the Google Pixel and Pixel XL.

Google Pixel XL
Google made bold claims when it was unveiling the Pixel. Google claimed it had created a phone with hands down the best camera on a mobile device. The Pixel did live up to that claim as tested by multiple tech reviewers. Google had hit a homerun, or did it? Google was charging a premium price just like Apple, with most models starting around $700. Google was trying to compete with Apple, but it was obvious Google was not ready to compete with Apple in the premium mobile phone category. Besides the great camera, the Pixel was hampered with multiple issues due to rushed production. It wasn't fully waterproof which is odd for a phone in 2016 and it only had one speaker, a downgrade from the Nexus 6P's dual speaker setup. All in all Google had actually created demanded for the Pixel and it seems to be a very hard phone to get your hands on even today.

Google Daydream View
We can't leave Google out of the VR (Virtual Reality) mix in regards to mobile. Google is the current company pushing the VR platform for mobile and other devices. Google released the Daydream View as a reference device for mobile VR. It's comfortable, simple, and ergonomic, which is all that is needed for the common consumer. One drawback unfortunately is that only a handful of devices have support for the Daydream View. If you are lucky enough to have one of those devices, the Daydream View is a joy to use and is very immersive when worn for long periods of time.

I expect a strong year from Google. It has some work to do to rectify the flaws of the original Pixel and its exciting to see where Google takes its artificial intelligence integration in Android O. I am expecting a new round of Pixel's obviously, a new and improved Daydream headset, a new Pixel tablet possibly, a stand alone VR headset, and we might see the fabled Andromeda operating system that is supposively a mix of Android and Google's in house operating system Chrome. Google has a lot of momentum it's riding from 2016, but it will be difficult to continue that momentum in 2017 if it doesn't execute properly and hit the right consumer base.

In 2014 Motorola Mobility, which was then a Google company, was acquired by Chinese technology firm Lenovo. Since the acquisition, Motorola Mobility remained a separate entity owned by Lenovo.

Motorola has seen some steady success in 2017 as it has released some innovative mobile phones in the last year and is looking to another successful year. Motorola's success has mainly come on the software side of mobile phones. Everyone is entitled to take Google's Android operating system and modify it. Motorola's approach is very minimalistic, and changes very little then what Google offers.
They have also added some very intuitive software to add to the experience.

Their recent phones have been modest hits in the consumer space, melding hardware and software harmoniously.

Moto Z
Moto Z Force Droid

Moto G5 Plus
 The phones above have represented a big shift from Motorola and gives us a glimpse at the rest of 2017. Motorola has been inclined to produce phones with the ability to add different items modularly, to improve certain areas where it could possibly lack.

In 2017 expect Motorola to continue with the push for more modular attachments and another budget smartphone that is simple, affordable, and consumer friendly. Motorola is hitting the right mix of hardware and affordability for the mid-range smartphone consumers. They are just devices that work and look for Motorola to continue that trend in 2017.

HTC is looking at 2017 as a rebound year from its struggling mobile phone portfolio. HTC gained very little momentum in 2016 with some very underwhelming device releases.

HTC is the original Android manufacturer. It created the first Android headset in 2008, the HTC Dream or in America the T-Mobile G1. It was a huge hit and rightly so as it was the first device to tote Andy Rubin and Google's Android operating system.

Flash forward to HTC's current state and it is very bleak. Huge profit losses in 2015 and 2016 almost caused the Taiwanese company to declare for bankruptcy. 2016 was a marginally better year with the release of the HTC 10.

HTC 10
 The HTC 10 was HTC's desperate attempt to gain momentum towards the end of 2016. It was hardly a success and the device was subpar at best. The software and hardware were great, but poorly executed. Jump into the beginning of 2017 and HTC is taking a different approach.

HTC U Ultra

The HTC U Ultra is the phone that should have been released in 2016. It was actually meant to be and held up by production issues. This is the best executed HTC phone since early 2014. The all around experience is good, not great. If this is HTC's momentum builder, then a lot should be expected in 2017.

You can't talk about HTC without talking about it's huge success in VR (Virtual Reality). Not mobile phones, but in 2017 you will start seeing VR and mobile phones being closely integrated for the consumer. The HTC Vive is a stand alone unit, but has yielded great results thus far.

HTC Vive
In 2017 I expect HTC to come back to the mobile phone scene strong. A new device that is set to be released any time, known has the HTC U 11. HTC is putting on its innovation cap again and adding something that has not been seen yet in a mobile phone. It will actually have a pressure sensitive phone body, if rumors are to be believed. I also think HTC will update its HTC Vive and add even more accessories to the device to continue its hype as VR becomes a focal point in 2017.

Enter into the mysterious world of Apple. Apple is known for keeping its plans top secret, but 2016 was the worst year for keeping its plans under wraps.

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were huge successes as always. Apple's marketing machine and brand loyalty have equaled to one of the best selling devices to date. Although, many people might be surprised to know that Apple's 2016 wasn't all that hot.

iPhone 7 Plus
No Apple didn't have a debacle like Samsung, but rather continued its lukewarm trend of innovation. Sure Apple's marketing may make it seem like they are innovating, but the last 3 years in truth have been the opposite. Apple actually missed its margins on sales slightly, thanks in large part to Google, Samsung, and LG. The competition has been more competitive than ever and Apple in some cases has been surpassed in many areas, but remains strong in those areas even if the competition has caught up. Enter 2016 and Apple's yearly iPhone release. It was very "unexciting" as one tech analyst put it. There was just nothing new or exciting about the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus.

iPhone 7
I think many tech analyst have the same sentiments to Apple. What happened? Once a great innovator that has fallen off the map. Okay maybe not off that map, but off the map of innovation. Look at the pictures above, nothing has really changed except on the Plus they added an extra camera. On both devices there is no more physical home button, the cut out for the button is just a target for Apple to tell users how to activate their Taptic Engine button that interacts with the phone.

With that said, I am expecting a strong 2017 from Apple. Yes, I may have been down on them in my analysis, but with the 10th anniversary iPhone approaching and the possibility of an iPhone with and AMOLED display, it is exciting regardless if you're an Apple fan or not. I am hesitant to say if I expect any huge innovation from Apple, but I can't discount it either. If there is, I'm thinking a function area similar to the new Touch Bar on MacBook Pros. 2017 should be an exciting year to be an Apple fan to see how they execute, but if innovation from Apple stifles this year than I think Apple starts losing some of its iPhone brand loyalty in 2017.

Samsung is hitting the ground running in 2017. Much like its competitor LG, Samsung has also had a strong start to 2017 with its release of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+.

Left: Samsung Galaxy S8+       Right: Samsung Galaxy S8
Again much like LG, Samsung is taking the same direction as the mobile phone industry by creating their own bezel less phone. Samsung has coined their bezel less display as an Infinity Display. Taking inspiration from its Galaxy Edge line of devices, the display cresses over the side of the phone body. This gives it the appearance of a bezel less display in the same regards as the LG G6's display.

Although Samsung's 2017 is off to a hot start, we can't forget about the Galaxy Note 7 debacle that plagued Samsung in 2016. Galaxy Note 7 phones were catching fire and exploding left and right. Samsung started a partial recall and then a global recall which badly damage their reputation. In Samsung's final report they cite that the problem was an engineering mistake by putting a larger battery into the compartment housing the battery. This caused the batteries to over heat, swell, and short circuit causing all of the problems. Has Samsung recovered from this PR nightmare? Only time will tell.

Samsung just doesn't have much to show right now. They are not major players into the mid range mobile phone game and they only have one big release a year. There might be the possibility of a Galaxy Note 8, but that seems unlikely at the moment, with the Note brand being tarnished due to the 2016 battery issues. The only real known innovation Samsung is working on right now is flexible devices.

In 2017 expect Samsung to talk about flexible devices again, we might see a prototype sometime this year. I wouldn't put it out of the realm of possibility to see a Galaxy Note 8 release, but it seems unlikely as of now. Samsung has a lot to prove since its 2016 mishap with the Galaxy Note 7. A great phone turned sour by a battery too large for the space it had. Look for Samsung to improve its software even more, they are also following the minimal trend of other Android device makers in regards to software. 2017 should be a strong year for Samsung if they play their card right.

As I promised in an earlier post, I will now give you my opinion on the state of the mobile phone industry. I will review the industry as a whole briefly in this post and then review the major players in the mobile phone industry in future posts.

2017 Trends In Mobile
The big trend in 2017 will be the almost, complete removal of bezels. The LG G6 and the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus have proven that this is a consumer move. Consumers want more content and screen real estate. Removing the bezels allows for the screen to dominate, thus allowing the content to be front and center.

We can't talk about mobile phones without VR (Virtual Reality). Google and its partners are making VR more relevant. At Google I/O 2016, the Mountain View company released its new platform for VR called Daydream. Google even released a reference product, Daydream View, to show off the new capabilities of Daydream ready phones like the Google Pixel and Pixel XL.

Other possible trends I see for 2017 is initial innovation. What I mean by initial innovation is the beginnings of new technologies for mobile. HTC is working on releasing a phone with pressure sensitive sides. Also rumored is Andy Rubin's new company Essential Products Inc. with a focus on a new way of creating a mobile phone chassis, new protocol for flash photography, and a new interface for adding modular components on mobile devices.

The industry looking forward into 2017 looks exciting, but we are missing innovation from one major player, Apple. Apple like to keep things under wraps, but there has been not even a trickle of any innovation coming out from the Cupertino company. Only time will tell if all of this innovation will come to fruition in 2017.

With this Tweet from the "Father" of Android, Andy Rubin announced his return to the mobile game.

Andy Rubin is the creator of Android, the world's most popular mobile operating system. He left Google in 2014 to start new ventures into robotics and AI (Artificial Intelligence). Rubin couldn't stay out of the game for long, and now he has returned, but this time the software developer is making hardware to go along with his software.

Andy has always been known for his love of quantum computing and AI. Rubin is said to be taking his own Android creation and adding AI features to the hardware and software. Bringing two things in that Rubin is passionate about could be a home run if he and his new company do it right.

According to patents filed by Rubin, under his company Essential Products Inc. we may see a revolutionary device in the near future on the same level as the revolution of the original iPhone in 2007. In the patent documents is mentioned a new type of chassis for the body of mobile devices and minimizing the amount of ports on a device as to make it almost completely water and dust proof.

Rubin is no stranger to revolutionary mobile device feats. Before Android, Rubin was part of the team that brought us the T-Mobile Sidekick. He was part of the hardware team, but was most known for the development of the HipTop operating system that ran the devices.

After Danger was bought by the Microsoft Company in 2008 Rubin had already left Danger and been working on Android. According to Rubin the HipTop operating system was the beginnings of Android, and under Google it would become the world's most popular mobile operating system.

With Rubin returning to the mobile space, a new revolution of mobile devices could be upon us. The melding of mobile and AI is definitely the future and Rubin wants to make that future now.

Android O is here! It was about this time last year that Google decided to release developer previews for Android N, now known as Nougat. Obviously Android O doesn't have a delicious name just yet, but they are still mixing the batter before they bake and finish the final product.

I'm sure all of you are wondering what's changing in Android. The answer is...quite a bit. Just to outline a few:

  • Background Limits: This will allow better battery life by more strictly limiting what apps and services are allowed to do.
  • Notification Channels: Essentially this allows for better notification bundling, compactness, and user control.
  •  PIP (Picture In Picture): This was supported in Android TV in Android Nougat, but now its natively going to be supported in all of Android.
  • New Settings for the System UI Tuner: The System UI tuner has gotten a lot more useful and powerful. You can control the layout of your navigation keys and even customize shortcuts for the new added buttons- Extra Left and Extra Right buttons.
  •  Custom Shortcuts for App Icons: App icon shortcuts were added in Android Nougat and now they are becoming more powerful. With the ability to customize what shortcuts appear when you long press your icons, this becomes a much more powerful way to access app functions much easier.
  • Notification Badges: This is something iOS has had for years and if your an iPhone user, you will immediately take notice. When you have a new notification a badge with a number will appear to alert you on the app icon, on the home screen of how many new notifications you have.
There is even rumored to be Theme support natively in Android O! this could also be a huge addition. Being able to create and share themes to your friends, would allow for almost complete customization of your phone.

Since these are developer previews some stuff will break. I do not recommend that you flash it to your Pixel or Nexus phones if you use them as your daily use phones. Also don't get use to everything you see in the developer preview, it could be gone in the next preview.

Follow this link to download the developer previews- Android Developers

Blogging is Fun

Most people think blogging is just an online journal or something techies only do. When I started this journey into the blogosphere, I never imagined the work that went into writing for a blog.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways I have had so far.

·      Research your audience, write for them.

·      Short sentences and paragraphs keep your audience.

·      Use expressive writing.

·      Tell a compelling story.

·      Blogging is fun, so have fun.

Those sum up the big picture of my new knowledge on blogging and hopefully those takeaways can help you get started and excited about blogging.

Change Can Be Good

It’s interesting to look how my blog has evolved both visually and content wise. Visually I went through different variations of how I thought my blog should look. After I went through two or three I realized I needed to stop thinking and be simple. In design, simple and clean wins the audience. Being able to read the content without anything else getting in the way. So focus on content!

Speaking of content, I found that as I learned the takeaways above, my writing was more interesting and more fun to read. Expressing my fondness of technology was not easy to control, but it got there and my last few post have been much better, easier to read, and enjoyable to read.

Blogging and My Career

Interestingly in the Professional Media world, (This includes TV News Broadcasting, Radio, and Traditional Print Journalism) there are multiple uses for bloggers in the industry. Many of the industries I listed have blogs and need people to maintain them with current news. The skills I am learning now will go a long way to being multi-talented, instead of a one dimensional employee.

The Classiness of Blogging

Being in Dr. Clark’s blogging class has been a joy. Overall I feel like I am learning different ways of expressing stories in a shorter form. This is important going forward in other classwork and in the media market. Media people don’t like to drag things out. Get to the point or get out!

Last Takeaways

I summed up my main takeaways at the very beginning, but here are some other observations I’ve had.

I found out very earlier that our class was a cult! We have our own teachings, beliefs, and even our own gospel, “The Gospel of Clark”.

“The Gospel of Clark” isn’t your normal biblical gospel, but a gospel about Dr. Clark’s biggest annoyances in punctuation and how to fix them. Even Clark himself gave us his Sermon in the Classroom. It included six commandments on writing and possibly more.

The last takeaway I will leave you with is the importance of relaxing and focusing on what matters for you and your blog.

Remember to write for yourself and your audience. Write with purpose and fluidity. I always follow a quote that Google personifies to its employees, “Do not think, but think when your not thinking.” Essentially this idea is that we do our best thinking when we are not thinking.

Don’t be afraid to write down what you don’t think.

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