#211 - New Stuff: Impressed/Not Impressed

8 minute read

Motto: I Like These Oddly Formatted Columns. Expect More of Them.


Robert Downey Jr. is rumored to be joining the cast of the upcoming Captain America 3 movie (working title). That same rumor says that his involvement will mark the beginning of the MCU adatpation of Marvel's "Civil War" storyline. Here's 20,000 ft overview of the civil war plot:

The government enacts a "superhero registration" act, Iron Man leads a faction of superheroes that are for it, Captain America leads a faction of superheroes against it, the story follows Spiderman in particular whose kind of in the middle of it all.

The Civil War story is big and long and the type of thing that wouldn't take place JUST in Captain America 3, it would take place over several movies. So we're left with several questions:

1. Are they really doing the Civil War story?
2. How faithfully will it be adapted?
3. How will it work in movie form? one movie? A whole phase of movies?
4. Does Spiderman actually get to be involved or will they put someone in his place?


Android Lollipop was "announced" yesterday. It was previewed a few months back at Google I/O, so I guess there wasn't much new other than the name. Lollipop features an even bigger focus on aesthetics with the introduction of Material Design. There are new security features, much improved battery life, faster access to notifications and settings, better performance, much improved camera software, and a lot more. It also introduces Android TV, Android Auto, and Android Wear (2.0).

Not Impressed

The Nexus 6 - the newly announced successor to my phone, the Nexus 5.

Rumor has it, this device will start retailing at $650 (unlocked). This is a full $250-$300 MORE expensive than the $350-$400 Nexus 5 was. It's an intentional step AWAY from the "cheap off-contract yet still high quality phone" and into the "premier brand" territory. This move is severely SEVERELY disappointing from a consumer's perspective.

Okay, so, the price sucks. Is it at least worth the extra $250?
Compared to the Nexus 5:
- You'll get 1 inch more screen real estate
- A massive jump in the number of total pixels
- ~48 more pixels per inch
- AMOLED screen, not a typical LCD
- An extra 30% bump in battery size
- 5 more megapixels per picture, with an improved sensor (I'm guessing on this one)
- A newer, faster CPU
- A newer GPU
- Double the storage

To me: that's not worth it. At all. Check the Top 5 for more on this.

Having said all that, I WOULD like a bigger battery. I WOULD like an improved camera. I DO like AMOLED displays. But, I'm not going to pay $650 for that and I'm definitely never going back on contract.

I'm all for market diversity. It's awesome that this phone is available as an option.. but where is the smaller, cheaper option?

Not Impressed

The Nexus 9 - the newly announced successor to both the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10.

I'm not 100% sure how I feel about this one. This tablet is basically the same size and shape as a regular old iPad. The aspect ratio is NOT 19x6, as per most Android Tablets of the past. That's not a bad thing, it's just interesting. The screen resolution is 2048x1536... which is exactly the same resolution as the iPad.

It's $500 - not a price I'd consider as "peripheral computing device" territory.

There's a keyboard case that comes separate that could be interesting... but I'm just not sure. If Google is positioning this as a "this can be your only computer if you want!" then that's cool, but I'm not that type of customer.

It's a fine competitor to the iPad Air and Microsoft's Surface 3... but I doubt I'll get one.

I like the smaller, cheaper tablets of yore.


The Nexus Player - the first ever Android TV.

I'm impressed with the idea of Android TV. I like the idea of a lightweight videogame console/TV streaming box that supports "Google Cast" (chromecast) functionality. It's basically just a more fully-fledged Chromecast. I'm nervous about the performance. I've heard the original Android TV developer units had some performance issues.

It's $100. That's not bad, not great. I'd like to get one, but until I can replace my Playstation 3's blu-ray capabilities I don't think I'll be pulling the trigger... but it might make a cool Christmas gift!


Apple announced a new, cheaper Mac Mini. At $500, the specs really aren't all that impressive - but they are better than the old Mac Mini and the product is selling for $100 less than it used to. So that's cool.

Not Impressed

The iPad Mini 3 and iPad Air 2. They are adding the fingerprint-reading "Touch ID" feature, but those should have been there already considering the iPhone 5S had it. The prices stayed the same. They updated the camera in the iPad, but people who use their iPad as a camera are weird. They made the iPad 18% thinner, but at a certain point it doesn't matter anymore. If you're product is under 10mm, it's pretty much thin enough. I'd rather they kept the same thickness and just increased the battery size by 18% (it wouldn't work exactly like that, but it would be close). Or, heck, double the thickness, and double the battery life. Sweet!

Not impressed

The new iMac. It's got a 27" '5K' display, which is crazy awesome. But it's got a price tag starting at $2500, and that's crazy not awesome. Especially considering that's the base model, which doesn't really have "top of the line specs" (although it's way better than anything I own). Getting better specs increases the price quickly.


As of the 2014 generation, Google's flagship Nexus lineup no longer undercuts Apple's flagship lineup... at all. They are matched across the board.

iPhone 6 = Nexus 6 = $650 unlocked
iPad Air 2 = Nexus 9 = $500
Apple TV = Nexus Player = $100

Is Google positioning the Nexus brand as top-tier hardware?


HBO has announced they will start selling HBO subscriptions to people without cable providers next year. We are one or two steps away from a mass adoption of the cord cutter culture (of which I am a member). If ESPN does something similar, we'll see some MAJOR changes in the television industry... and unfortunately, probably also the internet industry.

Warner Brothers officially announced their movie lineup for 2016-2020. There will be two justice league-type movies per year for 5 years. They also announced a "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" and "Lego Movie" trilogies coming out over that same 5 year span. They are finally showing some amount of forward thinking. Also, they are willing to put their cards on the table. That puts them firmly ahead of Sony's Spiderman franchise which "Will definitely have like, 4 or 5 Spiderman movies" "okay, no, wait, only 3 Spiderman movies, but then 2 or 3 movies focused on villains" "okay, no, wait, only 2 Spiderman movies, but then a movie focused on the female superheros from the Spiderman universe" "okay, no, wait, we're going to re-reboot" "okay, no, wait..."

I Wish

I spend a lot of time thinking about what would be "ideal". I think that an "ideal" offering of flagship devices would require more options. Something like this:

That's a small, medium, and large phone with similar pixel densities (a.k.a. "with resolutions that are scaled with the size of the phone"). Then a 16x9 and 4x3 version of what I'd call a "personal" sized tablet and a "full" sized tablet. You cover all the bases. Of course, then you have to maintain 7 product lines year over year... but hey that's their problem to figure out. I'm the idea guy.

Top 5: Reasons I Won't Upgrade My Nexus 5 to the Nexus 6
5. The extra storage I don't really care about. I'm not using 20 of the 32 gigabytes I have available on my current phone anyway.
4. A QHD screen (2560 x 1440) on a phone is insanity. Phones do NOT need to have screen resolutions beyond 1080p. If your PPI is above 325 - you're fine. Apple sells tons of iPhones with a 326 ppi "Retina" display. Honestly, 720p is fine for most phones. There is absolutely no need to have that many pixels to push. Is this really what the consumers want?
3. The Nexus 5 hardly ever stutters. I don't really need a faster CPU and GPU. It would be nice, sure, but that power is probably negated by the (worthless) extra 1.6 MILLION pixels you're pushing. The battery will needlessly suffer also thanks to those.
2. You're getting a SIX INCH SCREEN. SIX. That's larger than the Galaxy Note "Phablets" and the iPhone 6 Plus. That's out of "Phablet" territory into "full-blown tablet-that-you-happen-to-use-as-your-phone" territory. That's insane. Even a 6'8+" guy says that's insane. Again, is this really what the consumers want?
1. THE SCREEN IS SIX INCHES. It's so ridiculous it's on this list twice.

"Your Columns are too long, I don't know who reads them."
- Jerry, some imaginary guy I just made up -