Moto Phone Mojo

Great Divide

You, readers and bloggers, have either an Android smartphone or an iPhone, unless you’ve chosen an old-school classic “dumb” phone. In the US, there’s about a 50% chance that you have an iPhone right now. That’s according to a research site I ran into while sheltering and surfing in place. It also revealed more.


Android’s Not Half-Bad

Counterpoint Research shows that US market share for Android and iPhone is split down the middle. Anecdotally, I’d say in my neck of the Texas woods that seems about right. And as for myself, I’ve used both iPhone or Android for years. I’m about to switch again, this time from iPhone back to Android.

Now of all the makers of Android phones, a few stand out. Like Samsung. There’s probably greater than a 50% chance you’ve heard of them! But who else have you heard of that makes Android phones? You might be able to name one or two.

The fact is, as far as US market share goes, there are only 3 total Android makers that garner specific attention. Besides Samsung, there’s LG and Motorola.

In a small Texas town, there’s a couple – my parents! – who each have Android phones. One is an older LG model. And the other is a Moto G4 – my old phone! How’s that for anecdotal evidence?

I bring it up because it so happens that the Android phone I’ve chosen to switch to from an Apple iPhone is not a flagship Samsung device. Nor is it an LG flagship. A pure Google Pixel phone would be nice, so would a mid-range OnePlus phone. But it’s not those.

My pick is the new Moto G Power, which is not out for a few more days. I would have chosen the Moto G7 from last year – a highly rated mid-range phone per several sources here, here, and here -, but the new gen. 8 Motos are worth waiting for. You get more Moto for your moo-lah.


All The Androids

While Android has half the US smartphone market in its own pocket, the story is greater overseas. Outside the US, Android commands a large lead with far more market share, about 85%, than Apple’s iPhone, about 15%. I think the reason for this is simple economics. Apple makes devices for the upper segment in pricing. But Android manufacturers make phones for all segments: high, middle, and low end.

What I really like is that the Counterpoint Research shows Motorola grew in US market share over several quarters, from 2% in Q2’17 to 8% Q4’19. My theory as to why is that more and more people are leaning away from the flagship phones that have pushed up into the 4-digit price point. Smartphones are so good these days that mid-range or even some budget Android phones are “good enough” or better.

The other good news is that Motorola/Lenovo is one of the 7 top smartphone makers with enough global market share to be called out specifically percentage and unit numbers wise. This should not be surprising. Who else can say this?

“Motorola created the mobile communications industry. We invented most of the protocols and technologies that make mobile communications possible, including the first mobile phone, the first base station, and most everything in between.”

Motorola

I loved my Moto Q feature phone years ago. Enjoyed my Moto X and Moto G4 Androids. Soon, I hope to benefit from the Moto G Power. It’s a brand that has received attention with accolades in the mobile phone space for decades. Its most popular phone ever was, I think, the Moto Razr, a classic flip-phone. So while Motorola has been more popular in the past, Moto still has mobile phone mojo.

I still have my original 2013 Moto X custom with wood back and orange accents. And it still works.

So which do you have now, iPhone or Android? Or a flip-phone?? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Update: this post was originally scheduled for last week before the Moto g power was released, so some of the dating is off. Thanks for understanding.

Upcoming Moto G Power

Hello Moto

At long last! Motorola’s newest mid-range and budget-friendly phones are being released in the US soon – April 16th to be exact.

The Moto G Power and Moto G Stylus went on pre-sale today! (It’s not an April Fool’s joke.)

First announced on February 7th with a great price of only $250, and no release date mentioned other than “Spring,” I’ve been eagerly anticipating the Moto G Power hitting store shelves. Of course, this was before COVID-19 became a real problem in the US and practically closed almost all stores.

Nevertheless, today I pre-ordered the Moto G Power from Best Buy for delivery to my house. This way, I can avoid public exposure to any viruses threatening mankind at the moment, further strengthen my introversion, and finally quit waiting for this phone, and my switch to Android.

But this is just a mid-range Android phone; what’s the big deal?

Yeah, no biggy, right? Well, it’s one more purchase to keep the economy stimulated. It’s also a way to keep feeling normal amidst sheltering-in-place. It’s not like time itself has stopped, and technological progress is still mostly underway. While feeling hindered at home, the world still progresses in some way.

For me, I’ve got a nearly 4 year old iPhone 7. Although it works great to this day, I’m a tech geek ready for an upgrade.

Software wise, I’ll be switching from iOS to Android, which is not too big of a leap. I’m already fully on-board in the Google App-o-sphere. And I also rely on third-party apps that work on both Apple and Google phones. In any case, it’s nice to have new options.

Hardware wise, the Moto G Power offers several big advances over my trusty iPhone 7. Besides a much larger display, a longer lasting battery, a headphone jack, and no unsightly notch, the main improvements I’m focused on are the cameras.

The iPhone 7 has one lens. It’s a very good one too. But the Moto G Power has 3 lenses: wide, ultra-wide, and macro! With that combo, you get 4 new capabilities: equal or greater photos, portrait photos with bokeh (background blur), super close-up pictures of life’s little details, and super-wide images catching the whole scene. For a shutter-bug like me, this is some awesome stuff.

I mean, come on, a MACRO LENS on a phone! Yeah, it’s got a low resolution, but it still opens up a new level of creativity with close-ups. It’s like when Instagram first came out and only allowed square photos. Sure, that was a limitation, but the app itself opened up new possibilities, and the limitation actually pushed creativity in new ways.

Overall, I’ll close this by kind of reiterating some basic Android phone benefits: affordability, flexibility, and variety when it comes to phone choices. And now, with the Moto G Power and Moto G Stylus appearing in two weeks, you’ll have at least two more very good options.


Have you used a Moto phone? Care to chime in about Android? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Defaulting To Android

Fewer Restrictions

Well, guess what? You might finally be able to automatically have your iPhone just open links in the Firefox or Chrome web browser – what a feature! The Verge published a great editorial about potential changes coming to iPhones; Apple may actually loosen their third-party app restrictions. Well, at least maybe a little bit. I’m already looking forward to enjoying any third-party app or feature by default. But it won’t be on Apple’s device. I’ve already decided to trade my iPhone for an Android phone.


Freedom Should Be Default

The Verge article linked above was a nice balanced piece, citing specific details as to what you, the user, can or cannot do on an iPhone. It also included examples of some of the freedom you have outside of Apple’s “walled garden.” That digital freedom is what I’m anticipating.

Veteran Apple writer at Daring Fireball, John Gruber, supports iOS becoming more flexible, which may suggest these changes, to some extent, are indeed in the works.

Although Google may be under much scrutiny for antitrust practices and the like, they at least have allowed Android to be open to third-party developers in ways far more flexible than Apple’s iOS platform. Even though the Chrome browser is pre-installed on Android, you can easily install Firefox, for example, and do the thing iOS has never allowed: make Firefox the default web browser.

There’s another example I’m eager to embrace. This one is far more personal to me. My chosen eReader and eBook supplier for years has been the de facto standard: kindle. And I’ve been shopping online at Amazon since at least 2004! But to this day, I can’t simply buy a kindle ebook in the kindle app on my iPhone. I can’t even buy it in the Amazon app! Instead, I must open the web browser, navigate to Amazon.com, login, and buy the ebook there.

Photo by Finn Hackshaw on Unsplash

And I’ve done this plenty of times. Apple’s restrictions or overbearing rules are not preventing me from buying an eBook outside of their own Apple Books app. And it’s not making me relent and switch to Apple Books for the sake of convenience. Instead, it causes me frustration. Whether Apple blocks eBook purchases in other apps or levies a tax that Amazon refuses to submit to, the result is the same. I, the average user, get dismayed (not delighted).


Future For Android

It may seem like a small thing to some. But it’s one of the little details that I’m very eager for. I can’t wait to open the kindle app on my future Android phone and just buy a book, right in the kindle app, without any roadblocks. Talk about delighting the user. So simple.

What else? How about having Google Assistant as default instead of Siri?! Seriously, there have been surveys or reports…Google Assistant is objectively better than Siri overall. And in my personal experience, I definitely find this to be consistent.

I could elaborate, but I think you get the idea. Maybe Apple opens up a bit, maybe they don’t. No worries. I’m movin on to Android where openness has been established. (Yeah, “open” to some triggers feelings of “insecure” or “not private”…maybe I’ll blog about that in another post.)


What do you think? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Hello Moto G Power

A week ago, Motorola announced new phones for the US in 2020. Good timing, because I was about to run out and buy last year’s Moto G7. Oh, by the way, I plan to switch from iPhone back to Android. Call it ludicrous, or call it liberating…wait, it’s just a phone that you can call.

Two phones in particular were revealed: Moto G Stylus and Moto G Power. I’m focusing on the G Power. On paper, this thing is surprising. How can Moto offer so much for so little? For a mere $250, you get: about 3 days worth of battery life on a single charge, a macro camera, an ultra-wide camera, a wide camera, a 6.4” full HD screen, dolby tuned stereo (dual) speakers, a microSD card slot, splash resistance, and near stock Android 10! And of course the Moto G Power has the basics down: 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, Snapdragon 665.

Flagship phones today cost over $1,000! But you can get a truly great phone for just $250! The value here is possibly unmatched. Moto has been making good budget to mid-range phones for years. Initial impressions of the Moto G Power are promising. Once full reviews are in, I’ll probably process several of them to be sure this new phone isn’t just smoke and mirrors before running out to buy one.

The only hard thing now is to wait until the Spring, maybe mid-April, when the phone goes on sale. My iPhone 7’s days are dwindling. It’s great, but I’m ready for an upgrade, and for a switch to Android.


Do you plan to get a new phone for 2020? Do you like the Moto G series? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

A Switch For Smartphone Computing

I found an article related to a feature in Android 10 that surprised me. And it got me thinking. What if your smartphone was like a Nintendo Switch?

The article I read talked about a potential upcoming feature that smartphone maker, LG, is purportedly working on. It’s a Desktop Mode. From what I understand, it lets you connect your Android 10 smartphone to a cable to output your phone’s screen to a large display. I assume it would also wirelessly connect to a keyboard and pointing device. This essentially would turn your smartphone into a desktop computer. And apparently, LG is polishing this native Android 10 feature to make it even more useful.

To me, this is intriguing.

Yet I think this can be marketed and understood better when thinking about Nintendo’s latest and very popular game console, the Switch. It’s main attractive feature is the ability to play the Switch as a tried and true home console on your TV but then easily and quickly take it on the go for an excellent handheld mobile gaming system. It’s a 2-in-1! And thanks to the design of the hardware and software, it works remarkably well.

So why can’t a smartphone work the same way? All you need is a good docking solution. Imagine being able to take your mobile phone, place it on a wireless charging mat, and then it auto-connects wirelessly (NFC/bluetooth/wi-fi) to a nearby display, mouse, and keyboard. Then the software turns on a desktop mode, letting you compute at a desk. Later, you just grab your phone off the charging mat and go! So easy!

Let’s say this set-up is totally feasible and will hit the market next year. The next question is, would you want this feature? Would you buy your next smartphone if you knew it could double as your primary desktop computer?

I, for one, think this could be great and would want to try it. To me, it wouldn’t be much different than a Chrombook with Android experience. Matter of fact, I would change the scenario a bit and have the phone wirelessly output to a Chromebook/laptop form factor for full mobile-desktop computing. I think the most attractive aspect of this idea is the simplicity of it. One device, one CPU, one storage drive, etc. It’d be one thing to power all your cloud computing.


Okay, so I just checked into this a bit more and found a related YouTube video. Basically, it is possible now to make an Android phone act like a desktop computer, where each app gets windowed and you can multi-task like traditional computing.

It’s intriguing, but it kinda feels like a niche experiment rather than a bonafide feature. It also looks like it might be fiddly with connecting the right cables and peripherals. But the wireless Chromecast ability of Android phones is one I had forgotten about; I want to see if that works with a bluetooth mouse and keyboard.

All that said, I’m also thinking that I like the simplicity of my two dedicated devices: a smartphone and a Chromebook. Both are small and capable and portable and serve me well.

In any case, I hope to see further development of Android’s desktop mode so that it becomes a common and powerful feature. In a few years, maybe using only a smartphone as your computer will be the norm.


What do you think? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!