Welcome to the Android Central Forums Create Your Account or Ask a Question Answers in 5 minutes - no registration required!
Results 1 to 8 of 8
Like Tree7Likes
  • 2 Post By Patrick Schroedl
  • 3 Post By Kevin OQuinn
  • 1 Post By Scott7217
  • 1 Post By Scott7217
  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  
    Patrick Schroedl's Avatar
    Retired Moderator

    Posts
    3,698 Posts
    Global Posts
    3,829 Global Posts

    Default Thinking ahead: distinctive experience vs. flexible product

    I'm using the One M8 and Project Ara as examples here. Forgive me if you don't agree with my interpretation or summary of the two, but the topic is still intriguing. If you just want the bottom line, feel free to skip to the end.

    The One M8.

    From the unique stereo speakers design that debuted with the M7 to the Dot View Case of the M8, it's certainly a unique device with a unique design. From the AC review:

    The original HTC One was the company’s first major push into an all- (OK, mostly) metal construction, milling out a single block of aluminum for what was a pretty striking phone. But the new HTC One? Downright futuristic. More metal. A more impressive design. A bigger display. And the best software HTC’s ever put together, with HTC Sense 6 and its wealth of features running atop Android 4.4.2 KitKat. The new HTC One is, quite simply, the best smartphone HTC has ever made.

    [...]

    A lot of the improved look and feel comes down to one thing — the way the back of the phone curves up and over and into the side. Gone is the beveled edge that, while stylish, very much broke up the line of the phone. Now it’s just a gentle curve that rolls over onto the back. It’s still a pretty sharp angle to the vertical, but the transition in no way feels like a sharp edge.

    HTC’s attention to detail is very much still in effect, though, from the beveled front edge as it meets the display to the top edge, which houses the power button and IR port and any other magical device. The brushed finish on the gunmetal gray — easily our favorite of the three — is a wonderful touch.
    I agree. The evolution of the M7's hardware and physical design is excellent, and they've matched it with their best software to date. Of course, you may not personally find Sense as appealing as some — but the fact remains that HTC has customized a very large portion of Android in order to create the experience they envisioned. Keep in mind they've done this at a time when stock Android on non-Nexus devices is on the rise (see Motorola's choices over the past few years, even before the Google ownership, and the increasing GPe devices), or are trying to improve their existing offerings (see Samsung's attempts at adding cohesion and modern touches to TouchWiz, and LG's software improvements with the G Flex). The battle for the "best experience" is very evident when you compare the M8 to the S5.

    Project Ara.

    So Google ATAP is moving forward with Project Ara, which is awesome. They're looking at a $50 entry point for the modular hardware platform, which will likely materialize next year. There's no understating the importance of introducing modular hardware like this to the smart-device industry. Longer-lasting hardware, easily replaceable hardware, easily upgradeable hardware, etc. However, the fact remains that this product is restricted in two ways: the base platform will be the same (aside from three sizes), and the individual component modules will also be restricted in form.

    What does that mean? Well... it isn't entirely clear. We don't know much about how the project will take shape, or how it will evolve after launch. However, at least in the beginning, I'd say it's unlikely that we'll see modular smartphones with the same level of attention to detail and control over design that we see with "all-in-one" devices like the M8, or any other current flagship. For example, I certainly don't see Apple moving to a modular platform like this any time soon. Their vertical integration and complete hardware and software control is what gives them the ability to create a very cohesive hardware and software experience, which on the Android side of things is an aspect Google has been working to enable and improve.

    What's the bottom line?

    The promise of a modular hardware platform shares some of the same benefits as open-source software. It's a base platform that can be used, improved (through increasingly advanced and feature-rich modules), and influenced by consumers and manufacturers alike. Many of the restrictions and pitfalls of the current smartphone experience may be improved or bypassed entirely. You'll be given the option to build your own hardware experience, but only time will tell to what extent.

    So what interests you more? The flexibility and control of a modular platform, or the "complete" experience of a product designed from the bottom up with a specific vision in mind?
    Johnly and Aquila like this.
  2. #2  
    Kevin OQuinn's Avatar
    AC Team Emeritus

    Posts
    9,562 Posts
    Global Posts
    9,773 Global Posts
    Carrier
    Stock

    Default Re: Thinking ahead: distinctive experience vs. flexible product

    It all comes down to experience right? How cohesive will the software and hardware be for Ara vs something like the M8 (or any other device for that matter)?

    The other way to look at it would be from an easily serviceable device standpoint. Modularity = easy to service. Break your screen? Buy another and slide it in. A higher resolution display comes out? Buy it and insert it (same with any component really).

    I guess it comes down to those things for me. All the modularity in the world won't make up for a poor software experience.
  3. Thread Author  Thread Author    #3  
    Patrick Schroedl's Avatar
    Retired Moderator

    Posts
    3,698 Posts
    Global Posts
    3,829 Global Posts

    Default Re: Thinking ahead: distinctive experience vs. flexible product

    Precisely. I I think the Ara experience will be great with stock Android, but if you're looking for something else — something "more" — I think it'll end up being a tradeoff either way.
  4. #4  

    Default Re: Thinking ahead: distinctive experience vs. flexible product

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Schroedl View Post
    So what interests you more? The flexibility and control of a modular platform, or the "complete" experience of a product designed from the bottom up with a specific vision in mind?
    I think most people want control over what goes in their phone. For example, some people didn't like the camera on the HTC One M8. There wouldn't be a problem if you could swap out the camera with a different one.

    I say let people decide what they want. Give them the option to mix and match different screen sizes, cameras, storage capacities, carrier frequencies, build materials, and so forth. If you're going to spend good money on something that you'll probably carry with you all day, you should be happy with every aspect of it.
  5. Thread Author  Thread Author    #5  
    Patrick Schroedl's Avatar
    Retired Moderator

    Posts
    3,698 Posts
    Global Posts
    3,829 Global Posts

    Default Re: Thinking ahead: distinctive experience vs. flexible product

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott7217 View Post
    I think most people want control over what goes in their phone. For example, some people didn't like the camera on the HTC One M8. There wouldn't be a problem if you could swap out the camera with a different one.

    I say let people decide what they want. Give them the option to mix and match different screen sizes, cameras, storage capacities, carrier frequencies, build materials, and so forth. If you're going to spend good money on something that you'll probably carry with you all day, you should be happy with every aspect of it.
    Absolutely; that's the innate advantage of modular designs like Ara. I can't wait to see what will happen when we reach the point that a device can realize both extremes, e.g. a One M8 that is also modular or extensible in terms of hardware. That would be a big opportunity for manufacturers, as once the consumer has adopted their modular platform it would be easier than ever to keep them around — assuming they're satisfied, of course.
  6. #6  

    Default Re: Thinking ahead: distinctive experience vs. flexible product

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Schroedl View Post
    Absolutely; that's the innate advantage of modular designs like Ara.
    We already can gain some of the benefits of Project Ara with current phone designs. For example, if I need more storage, I can stick a microSD card into some phones. If I need more power, I can swap out the stock battery and replace it with an extended battery. If I were to do the same thing with Project Ara, I would just remove the stock modules and replace them with higher capacity ones for storage and battery.

    This is why I never understand why some people are opposed to microSD cards and removable batteries. I wonder if these same people would be opposed to their Project Ara equivalents for storage and battery.
  7. Thread Author  Thread Author    #7  
    Patrick Schroedl's Avatar
    Retired Moderator

    Posts
    3,698 Posts
    Global Posts
    3,829 Global Posts

    Default Re: Thinking ahead: distinctive experience vs. flexible product

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott7217 View Post
    We already can gain some of the benefits of Project Ara with current phone designs. For example, if I need more storage, I can stick a microSD card into some phones. If I need more power, I can swap out the stock battery and replace it with an extended battery. If I were to do the same thing with Project Ara, I would just remove the stock modules and replace them with higher capacity ones for storage and battery.

    This is why I never understand why some people are opposed to microSD cards and removable batteries. I wonder if these same people would be opposed to their Project Ara equivalents for storage and battery.
    Right, but with current phones that's only true to an extent. Theoretically, a fully modular platform offers significantly more customizability and adaptability than most hardware features in today's consumer devices. (Yeah, I recognize you said "some." ) I think, for the most part, those 'opposed' to removable batteries and microSD cards are those seeking either the style of (typically) thinner unibody devices or larger amounts of internal storage to use with network-based data management and apps. Or, you know, those who disable a plethora of features to get as much battery life as possible. I transfer photos from DSLRs to Android devices fairly often, and I'm usually set up to do so wirelessly. In that situation, I don't benefit much from removable storage, though the space itself is crucial.

    Similar logic applies to music management and apps in place of local libraries. Perhaps the divide between those who utilize removable storage and those who use it solely for the storage space is becoming larger as more people adopt services that diminish the need for the 'removable' aspect? You're right, it'll be interesting to see how people adopt Ara to suit their needs... and it would make sense that one could get a sense for how another uses their device by looking at how they configured it.
  8. #8  

    Default Re: Thinking ahead: distinctive experience vs. flexible product

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Schroedl View Post
    You're right, it'll be interesting to see how people adopt Ara to suit their needs... and it would make sense that one could get a sense for how another uses their device by looking at how they configured it.
    I think Project Ara will reshape the perennial discussion on removable storage and batteries. Will people who oppose microSD cards oppose swapping storage modules? Will people who oppose removable batteries oppose changing power modules? I would like to see the arguments opposing either of those things when Project Ara goes on the market.

Similar Threads

  1. [Free] Hero vs Planes [Best Android Game]
    By Fathi Al-Qaisi in forum Android Games
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-22-2015, 06:40 AM
  2. [Free ][Games]Cow vs Aliens
    By doitmx in forum Android Apps
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-03-2014, 11:17 PM
  3. New Android Game - Coins vs Eggs
    By Gutsygamestan in forum Android Apps
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-11-2014, 11:49 AM
  4. HTC One M8 Vs Samsung Galaxy S5 Vs Nexus 5
    By Rlambo in forum General Help and How To
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-01-2014, 12:33 PM
  5. Productivity Apps Comparison
    By jipr in forum Motorola Droid Ultra
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-01-2014, 10:44 AM

Posting Permissions