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Nexus 5, Golang, and Hackathons

Last week was host to the long awaited Nexus 5 (official) reveal. It was already leaked and all but confirmed in the weeks leading up to it's October 31st debut on the Google Play store, but now it's finally available for purchase. It looks to be a very nice phone, but I no longer feel compelled to upgrade. Starting a few months ago, about the time the Moto X became immensely hyped, I started taking a look at what I actually needed my phone for. There's making calls, sure, but aside from that, I really only used it for web browsing, email, and various other apps. I no longer have any games on my phone, I don't use it for streaming music or watching Netflix, there's the occasional Youtube video, and Google+. I realized that I am in no way taxing my phone's memory or processor, so what need is there for me to purchase a new device that is primarily a spec bump? If I'm going to purchase something new, it's going to be because it provides something that my current phone doesn't. Something that is more tangible and feels more useful than an extra gig of ram or another 0.5 Ghz of processor speed.

I'll detail where the Nexus 5 bests my Nexus 4 and why those no longer matter to me.

  • Nexus 5 has a better processor
    • I'm not maxing out my processor in the N4, so a better processor means little in my real world usage.
  • Nexus 5 has a better camera
    • I'm not taking the majority of my pictures with Glass, so the better camera is of little use to me.
  • Built in LTE
    • This is something I'm interested in, though only slightly. I have a hybrid radio on my Nexus 4 that enabled LTE and it works great. I'm sure I'd get better signal on the N5, but in the area I'm typically in, it wouldn't make much of a difference.
  • Nexus 5 has a larger screen
    • This too interests me, but the screen difference is small and not enough to upgrade for.
  • Nexus 5 has a higher resolution
    • The N4 looks great to me now. A higher resolution isn't going to affect anything in my usage.
  • Nexus 5 has better battery life
    • This may be true, but the extra battery life would only be occasionally useful to me. When I'm at work, my phone is on the charger, when I'm at home, it's on the charger. The only time it's not on the charger is when I'm in my car, and even then, I have a charger there I can plug up if need be.
Overall, I think the N5 is a great phone, but the spec bump alone isn't enough for me to upgrade. You may have noticed that I did not include Kit Kat, Android 4.4, on the list of things the N5 does better than the N4. This is because the N4 will definitely be receiving the Kit Kat update, and if not, I know one of the other ROM creators will have one available, if there's not one already. I'm looking for more usability in my devices. Since I have Glass now and I use that for my phone calls, the device I use no longer needs to have the typical phone form factor or size, it merely needs to be able to provide an internet connection and a screen for when I want to look something else up that Glass isn't ideal for. This train of thought has lead me to two options thus far. I'm considering either going big, utilizing an LTE Nexus 7 as my "phone", or going small, using something like the Omate TrueSmart as my "phone" of choice.

The N7 route would provide some obvious benefits, it has a larger screen for reading email and browsing the web easier, as well as a larger battery for much longer battery life. All of the other benefits of my N4 are there too, wireless charging, LTE data connectivity, and even though it's pushing it in the pocketability department, it still fits in my back jeans pocket without any issue. The only downsides I can see are that even though it does still fit in my pocket, it is certainly not as pocket friendly as the N4, and I may need a new cellular plan for the tablet. I'm currently on the $30/month 5Gb, 100 minute plan from +T-Mobile, which I love because I rarely talk on the phone at all, and since I'm on WiFi 90% of the time, I rarely even use over 1GB of mobile data. This plan works great for me, and I would love to keep it if I moved to a tablet. I'd prefer to still have the voice calling option utilizing a N7, but I don't believe that works, for whatever reason. That would leave me with just the data, which would be fine, but I believe T-Mobile blocks tablets from utilizing the same data plans as mobile phones, even though my usage would stay exactly the same.

The other route I'm looking into is something like the Omate TrueSmart watch. The Omate is exactly what I described when I received my Google Glass as a combination that could replace my smartphone. A watch could make better use of it's battery than a smartphone could due to the smaller screen size, and it would be much more portable than a smartphone due to not taking up pocket space. The screen would still be available to apps when needed and it would all together provide a better user experience. The only thing preventing me from going this route at the moment is no LTE (though I'm not sure how much that would be needed in this case) and the fact that Google is likely on the verge of announcing their own watch. I'm not hopeful that Google's version will contain a cellular radio though. The Omate is the first smartwatch I've seen to do that and I'm very interested because of that. I want my smartwatch to be a first class device, not a companion one...

I'm still undecided, and I'll likely stay that way until all of my questions are answered (what will Google's smartwatch have, can the LTE Nexus 7 be used as an adequate phone replacement, etc) because, after all, the Nexus 4 is no slouch.

This past week I've went through the +The Go Programming Language tutorial again and refreshed some of my knowledge on the topic, as well as reignited my interest in the language and it's uses. I plan on attempting to replicate the functionality of one of our applications at work that is a bit processor bound to see if some of Go's concepts could reduce the processor usage and/or arrive at the calculation faster. I still think Go is an awesome language, and I'm determined to use it in creating something for Glass.

The last topic I wanted to mention is the Dun and Bradstreet Hackathon I'm attending next weekend. D&B seems to have a lot of data on credit reports and similar information about businesses. There appears to be many uses for the data, and some of my fellow coworkers and myself will be attending as Team Ponies (it's an office joke) in order to create something useful out of the dataset. It will be interesting to see what's created, especially as there will be over 70 teams (of up to 8 people) and over 120 individuals competing for $30,000 in cash and prizes.


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