I really love the Christmas break.
Not only because it gives me two weeks off to sleep in, catch up with friends, run errands at my leisure, or because I have an infatuation with Christmas songs, but because it finally gives me time to reflect.
This is my time to wipe away the smudges of cynicism and doubt off the lens I view the world through, and be really, truly introspective.
I also really love Christmas.
Sure, I like getting presents, but it’s the whirlwind of positive feelings, the hodgepodge of Christmases long gone that all mix together and form a soft spot in my heart that really get me excited for the season.
Everyone seems so happy and close with to one another, and I love it.
One of my favorite Christmas specials is A Charlie Brown Christmas, if only for this scene (although the rest is great, too):
It’s the end of Linus’s final line that really speaks to me, “…and on earth, good will toward men.” Some people might argue that there’s not enough of that going on these days, good will toward one another. With events like the tragedy at Sandy Hook, the recent ambush on some firefighters by an armed gunman, and all sorts of travesties around the world, I can see how it would be easy to feel that way.
Still, I’d be inclined to disagree.
It’s probably because of what I see on a day-to-day basis, being a teacher, but I see lots of good going on, from young people being kind and understanding with one another, teachers caring about their students (and vice versa), and just the overall positive vibes that happen on a consistent basis. Yes, it’s not perfect, but it’s a start.
Still, I’ve often wondered, where does it begin? Can people be good toward each other if they’re not happy themselves? I don’t know for certain, but I assume not.
That led me to lots of pondering and self-reflection (and eventually, to the internet!), and through my own good fortune, to a video by Shawn Achor entitled The Happy Secret to Better Work.
If you can spare 12 minutes and 21 seconds, watch it.
I find absolutely everything about this video to be not only fascinating, but also inspiring. I see myself as a pretty happy guy, quick to laugh, generally pretty optimistic, but even then, sometimes I’m brought down. I think it’s natural and I think it’s human, but if I could be an even better version of myself, I’d work for it in a heartbeat.
Achor talks about various ways to essentially reprogram your brain to make you a more positive person (and in turn, a happier, more productive, more resilient person), and one of them is random acts of kindness (or, what I’d like to also call good will toward men).
I think it goes without saying, but if we were all happier people, less focused on the negative, there’d be a lot more kindnesses taking place. And if there were more kindnesses taking place, we’d slowly but surely change the world.
I became a teacher for a number of reasons. One, I love music. Music moved me in a way few things ever have, and at the age of 15, I knew this is what I wanted to spend my life doing.
I also had phenomenal teachers who made a profound impact on me, not only as a musician, but as a person. At a young age, I recognized how powerful a role model a teacher could be, and how they could touch the lives of so many, but also really change the lives of a few.
I have dreams about being that teacher one day, older and more experienced, who can be that rock for so many, but for now, I just try to make my students good people. I’ve always felt that if we just taught our young people to be good people, the results would be exponential. We’d change the world, one person at a time.
I know this might have come off as a disjointed, random, meandering post, but it all points to this: let’s refocus our brains on what’s good around us by doing what Shawn Achor suggested. A scant 21 days in a row is all it takes, so what reason is there to say no?
I’m taking the plunge in what I’m dubbing The Happiness Experiment. While I can’t quantify how happy I am on a scale right now, I can document what I do and what I’m grateful for here, and I’ll be doing just that, every day, for the next 21 days, and I invite you to do the same.
It’s so important to me, I’m starting on one of my busiest (but also happiest) days of the year, Christmas. I felt so compelled to write this down, I’m doing it with less than an hour left in the day, just so I wouldn’t forget.
Three things I’m grateful for today:
So, if you’re up for it, let’s change ourselves, one thought at a time, one action at a time, one day at a time. Let’s help change the people around us, and through ripples, the people around them, too.
Let’s change the world, one day at a time. Couldn’t hurt, right?]]>
Currently listening to: Gomalan Brass Quintet – Adagio for Strings
Hello, world. It feels like it’s certainly been a while since I’ve written anything in here. Maybe because it was old, haggard, and held onto some vestiges of another time. Who knows, really?
I know for a fact I was scared. Writing is such an intimate thing to me, (well, probably to anyone), I was scared of it not being good enough. I was scared of ridicule by my peers, judgment by my superiors, and worst of all, apathy by the reader base.
That’s something I’ve carried around for a long time, but I really, really missed writing.
So I’m going to write.
Like all good reflective posts, I’ve got to take a look at where I was.
Some time ago, I was writing for Android Central. I was their apps guy and I really liked it. I was also still working on my degree, working one or two jobs (depending on the time), and otherwise trying to stay out of trouble.
Life wasn’t particularly interesting, but I stayed busy.
I was 23 (still am, too!), heartbroken for a time, and trying to get my feet under me. I didn’t know if I wanted to teach or write, and I had (supposedly) lucrative offers on both sides that weren’t making deciding any easier.
May hit, I graduated with my degree, was offered a band directing job at Canyon Ridge Middle School, and jumped at the opportunity to teach. (That passion had been rekindled my final semester, while I was student teaching.)
From there, I joined the brass staff of the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps, resigned my post at Android Central (cue mass un-Circling on Google+), and spent the rest of the summer teaching 150 of the most hard working, disciplined, great kids I could have ever asked for. (We got 10th at World Championships, if anyone was wondering.)
I flew back from Indianapolis on August 12, went straight into new hire training for the next two weeks, and started officially being a real teacher on August 27. (I teach three beginning brass classes, the third concert band, and assist with the other two concert bands.)
Somehow, I had to say all of that to finally arrive here. It’s so fun to succinctly sum all of that up though, as though it was all a brief walk in the park. (It wasn’t.)
Where am I now? Moved into my own place, teaching all day, working long hours, and loving every minute of it. That’s not to say I’ve lost my edge for Android, I’m just not doing it professionally anymore (although if the opportunity presented itself…!), so expect rants, raves, opinions, and yes, the occasional app review to sneak it’s way on here.
I also got a new theme for the ol’ blog, too. (That’s actually how I initially came up with the title, believe it or not.) It sounds silly, but sprucing up this old shack of a website almost breaths new life not only into it, but also my own creative processes.
Looking back on this post, I’m not sure it’s how I wanted it to turn out, but that’s the thing about writing, I suppose. From the moment the idea is born in my head and I struggle to articulate it, turn on the computer, grab the keyboard… it’s already gone and grown, evolved, some might say, all by itself, organically, into something different completely.
Writing is funny like that.
If you’ve joined me on this journey, I sincerely thank you. Already I can feel thought after thought tumbling over one another, scratching, clawing, screaming furiously to get out. If this didn’t tickle your fancy, hopefully something in the future will.
At this point, all I can really say is how great it feels to be back. Yes, it’s new, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.]]>
I had to at least get this post written so I could say I’ve taken a step to getting back into this blog of mine (which is almost a year old, by the way!), but this post isn’t going to be the crème de la crème post you might be hungering for. Trust me, that’ll be coming soon.
I’ll expand on this tomorrow (or in a few days). Until then!]]>
The look on her face is that of a gentle helplessness. I know she wants something, and we all know how awkward those situations are. It’s probably why so many people don’t even acknowledge the presence of a homeless person on the corner.
“Excuse me, hun. Would you like to buy a Christmas ornament my kids made? We’re trying to raise some money for food.”
“I’m so sorry. I don’t have any cash on me.”
“God Bless you, honey.”
I got into my car, headed into the rush hour traffic, and started my slow crawl back home. As the time passed, and seconds turned into minutes, I started asking myself questions.
Why didn’t I go back inside and get cash back? Hell, there was an ATM behind her. Why didn’t I go withdraw some cash? Why have I resolved to so passively and glibly stand by?
I got home and started some food for my girlfriend, but I couldn’t get that woman’s words out of my head.
We’re trying to raise some money for food.
Food. This wasn’t the local band washing cars for their spring field trip, nor was it some club basketball team trying to pay for transportation to playoffs. It was about food. Think about it.
It’s something so many of us take for granted, food and drink. Sustenance. And here was this nice, middle-aged woman who didn’t have enough to eat not only for herself, but her family. The thought of it reduced me to tears.
She was trying to raise money, not simply ask for it. She didn’t have a sign, she wasn’t on a corner, she was trying to offer something worth people’s money. Little, glitter-covered trinkets her kids made. She was going about it as fairly and nobly as she could.
The weight of her words hung around my neck. I felt guilty for not helping her. Ashamed. So I grabbed some cash that was laying around the apartment and raced back to the store.
I drove around the whole parking lot, but I didn’t see her. I checked the fast food joint’s parking lot, but she wasn’t there, either. I went inside the store and combed the isles, one-by-one, looking for that small-statured, kind woman. She wasn’t inside.
I’d missed the mark.
The perfect opportunity to exercise compassion, to help someone out, and I blew it.
I find it ironic that this happened today of all days, both on the cusp of December, a month marked by charity, gift-giving, and good will towards men, and the end of November, a month wholeheartedly categorized as one of giving thanks. Thanks for health, family, friends, anything. And even as I type that, I wonder, did that woman’s family have a nice dinner?
I’m not a religious man, though I am somewhat spiritual, and at the risk of sounding preachy, I have to say this: exercise compassion.
So many of us are in a good spot right now. We obsess over our shiny new toys. A new webcam, new, high-quality headphones, the latest and greatest smartphone. We wonder how we’ll pay for them, or, in the case of some, don’t even wonder. The money is there. Hundreds upon hundreds of dollars spent. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
But while some of us can buy things that we like, others can’t even have their needs met, and they need help. I’m not saying don’t buy your shiny toy, and I’m not even saying feel guilty for being able to. What I am saying is be aware that people need help, and if you’re like me, you can give even a little to help them out.
Religion aside, dogma aside, I think we owe it to ourselves to be compassionate to one another. Everyone needs a little help getting up sometimes. Maybe some of you have been there. Maybe some of us will be there and just don’t know it yet. Regardless, when you’re there, I think the help is appreciated.
There’s so much that can be done, too. Give food to your food bank. Donate to the Salvation Army and their legion of bell-ringers this month. Serve food at a homeless shelter and put a face with the idea of being down on your luck. Or buy from a lady selling ornaments in the parking lot.
Whatever you do, I implore you, I entreat you, do something, especially when you’re given the chance to.
Be compassionate. Don’t miss the mark.
If you’re interested in buying an Android pint glass, just use this simple widget on the right of the screen with the big “Add to cart” button on it. You can order as many as you want in a batch and USPS handles the shipping price.
It looks like it’s $4.80 minimum, and then it jumps to $4.97 if you order two, so not too bad. It’s done by weight and distance from where we’re at, but for folks on the far coasts, no one has passed $8 in shipping yet, so still, not too bad!
Hope everyone enjoys the glasses and if this looks like it is going well, we’ll be sure to roll out other things (like coffee cups/mugs!) that people are asking for.
To borrow a line from something I wrote a few months back, “I swear, July is just one of those months. It’s long, everyone gets really busy, the temperatures are horrible, and I don’t write.” Switch out July for September and it still holds true. I won’t get too far into why, just chalk it up to school being busy and lots of marching rehearsals.
Despite all of that, I still find time to get nostalgic about my childhood and the 90s. I say the 90s because really, growing up the in the 90s rocked. Television had no shortage of awesome shows to watch, both live action and cartoon. Before school, after school, or evenings on Friday (anyone remember the TGIF shows?), you could always find something everyone enjoyed that usually had a good message.
Doing some research also helped me to discover a trend among TV show intros: in the 90s, the electric guitar ruled. Four out of the five shows I’ve chosen not only have electric guitar in their intro song, but feature it at some point. Like shredding solos and melting faces. All of this for a cartoon!
Now that I’ve gotten my little spiel out of the way, here are five reasons why TV rocked so hard in the 90s.
The 90s felt like the Golden Age of Comics on TV, and Spider-Man fell right into that groove. Having never read a comic in my life, I quickly got caught up on the entire Spider-Man mythos, learned about his enemies, and essentially became a huge comic book nerd by proxy. I was even Spider-Man for Halloween once. (Gabby was a hippie.)
Also take note of the excellent electric guitar playing in the background, accompanied by “Spider-Man, Spider-Man, radioactive Spider-Man” in a pseudo-autotuned voice. When did autotuning become cool? When T-Pain did it?
Spider-Man, so ahead of its time.
Continuing the trend of incredible comics-turned-90s-cartoons is X-Men. I don’t even know how to get into this one. I remember that both Spider-Man and the X-Men were on Fox Kids, which was channel 13 for us. To this day I don’t know if channel 13 was supposed to be a cable-only channel or if our reception was bad, but I’d fiddle with the rabbit ears (did I just date myself?) everyday after school until the static was clear enough for me to watch both those shows.
Anyway, check out this intro. Starts off with strings, so we think we’re getting something orchestral, and then… BOOM! Enter the electric guitar. Add in some cheesy effects, like every X-Men having their name appear behind them in silver or gold, the dramatic stare down between Professor X and Magento (head-tapping and fist-pumping? Come on!), or the fact that the X-Men crashing into the Brotherhood of Mutants results in an explosion that spells the X-Men logo in metal (adamantium, anyone?) and I don’t know how you don’t have the epitome of 90s cartoon design.
2.) Batman: The Animated Series
I’ll admit, I copped out with a two-way tie for second place. Between Batman: The Animated Series (also known as The Adventures of Batman & Robin) and my other choice, there’s no clear winner. With Batman, you get pretty much the only dark, gritty show of the happy-go-lucky 90s, at least for chilluns. The art style is aggressive and ominous, plus you finally get an intro without electric guitar.
In fact, I’ve got to commend whoever worked on this show for opting to go full orchestra. That was a pretty sweet touch. And what else made this show awesome? Maybe the fact it won three Emmys, had
Luke Skywalker Mark Hamill voice the Joker, and is probably the most influential Batman media next to the comics themselves.
And just watch that intro and tell me you don’t get excited. He’s shadowy, he’s shadowy, they show his eyes, he beats up bad guys, and then dramatic lightning.
2.) Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers
I’m not even going to go into how influential Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was on me growing up. I absolutely adored that show. LOVED it. Instead, let’s just break down the intro so everyone can how
ridiculous creative and epic it was.
What are two astronauts doing on the moon in the 90s? Did we believe so much in the shuttle program back then? And better yet, if you saw a giant canister/trash can/barrel on the moon with a suspicious looking stone cover on it, would you open it? After opening it, what ever happened to those two people?
Oh man, Rita Repulsa. Don’t get me started on the outfit. Why was she in a space dumpster? And for 10,000 years? How did she know? What she keeping track? Why does the camera pan so dramatically to Earth?
My biggest issue: The criteria for the Power Rangers is that they are “teenagers with attitude.” I’m assuming Zordan meant sassy, stomping bad guy attitude, not the kind of attitude that walks away with their magic belt buckle and then tries to take over the world.
Why belt buckles? Belt buckles aren’t cool now and I know they weren’t cool in the 90s. I mean, I got a toy one for Christmas, but it’s not like I ever wore it outside or anything.
Also, Billy was totally my favorite ranger. Why’d they make him such a doofus in the TV show, but in the Power Rangers movie, he’s ripped as all get out? He obviously knows martial arts and despite being the “nerdy” one, he doesn’t need to act like an incompetent nobody fighting Putties (they’re season 1 Putties, for cryin’ out loud!).
What ever happened to Zordan? Or Bulk? I know the guy who played Skull has his PhD in something. Read it on Wikipedia.
And let’s not forget that the theme song is nothing but electric guitar and the show’s name about 40 times.
Of it all, Pokémon takes the cake. There are almost no words. Pokémon was elementary school and middle school, plus a card game, some sweet games on N64, link cables and setting your Game Boy down on the table just right so the trade would go through. It was also pleasant, good-natured cartoons on Saturday morning and eventually after school.
Bumbling Team Rocket, always a source of entertainment. Ash is perpetually what, 11, 12 years old? And he’s short. If you look at him compared to Lt. Surge, Surge is twice his height. Assuming Ash is 4′ something, that makes Surge at least 8 feet tall.
The theme song is electric guitar heavy, but at least there’s real lyrics. In the full song, there’s a pretty sick synth/guitar lick that’s wicked fast. I know that because yes, I bought the “Enhanced CD” 2.B.A.Master.
Remember Enhanced CDs? Pop it in your Windows 95 computer and it’ll give you extra content. In this case, a PokéRap video. And boy, could I even spit that rap out. Like a master, some might say.
Plus there was Misty and Brock and Professor Oak, a PokéDex that had a weird voice that changed every season, badges, badges, badges. I don’t know how Ash kept getting those badges with as sidetracked as him and his friends would get.
Man, Pokémon was legit. And the 90s rocked.]]>
Online identity means a lot to me. I’ve thought about how to approach it frequently, and thanks to two blog posts I’ve read, I’m talking about it. Simply put, why do we approach our online identity in different ways?
Some people go the route of total anonymity for whatever reason, while others fully embrace their digital self being the same as their “real world” self. As for me, I started as the former but gradually migrated to the latter.
A little background on me: I’m a music education major working on my last year of school. Something that’s been stressed to me since forever (at least high school) is that you’ve got to have a clean record. No, not just criminally, but online as well. I’m sure this is something everyone is aware of, as people losing their job because of a misplaced Facebook photo tend to get great media coverage.
It seemed especially important, wanting to go into education, that I made the right moves. People already aren’t fond of
the overpaid, underworked, lazy, tenured teachers (separate rant, I digress), so I figured keeping a squeaky clean record couldn’t hurt. At least it doesn’t give parents or administrators extra ammunition to try and remove you.
For a long time (think, up until last April, right about the time I started writing for Android Central), I was incredibly aware of my online presence. I stayed low-key, used a single pseudonym, and made sure I
never very rarely said anything inflammatory, lest it could get traced back to me. I worked hard to have no online identity, Googled my name to see what would come up, and tried to have as small a footprint as possible.
The plan worked. As far as online searches were concerned, I didn’t really exist. I was pretty ok with that, because it meant I wasn’t jeopardizing future job chances and stuff. But then I started wondering, what if I did the exact opposite of what I’d been doing? What if I totally embraced online media, a social identity, and had it be who I really am?
This way I could control the flow of information coming out of my camp, I wouldn’t have to worry about some other fool with my name mucking up search results, and I could tailor my image as I saw fit. On total impulse, I bought this domain name for $4.99 and began my experiment.
Right around that time, I also started writing for Android Central. This accelerated everything a bit because I was writing for a high-traffic website using my real name. Writing for Android Central actually forced my hand a bit, because it made me commit to using my real name on the internet. No pretend name, no alias, no pseudonym. It was out there for everyone to see (and will probably remain in Google’s cache for a long, long time).
Because of writing, I started using Twitter. My username there, @joshmunoz, is my real name. Granted, it’s not my full name, but that’s because @joshuamunoz was taken. Initially, I didn’t tweet often, but in the past month or so, I’ve picked up. Do I say anything bad? Of course not. Usually it’s just banter about Android or talking with someone I don’t normally have access to.
Soon after Twitter, I got invited to Google+. I already use my real name on my Google profile, so TOS issues skipped me right over. Again, because of my position at Android Central, lots of people added me. It’s awesome because there’s always people to engage with in dialogue, but at the same time, I always need to be mindful of what I’m saying. To interact with those folks means my posts are public, and if they’re public, anyone can see them.
Now I’m on all sorts of different social networks. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, even Foursquare. I’ve linked my Gravatar profile to my Disqus profile and have my WordPress site on both. I even put up Gowalla, just for kicks.
I sometimes wonder if this could backfire on me and will put me in the exact situation I’m trying to prevent. I’m definitely out there now. On Klout, I finally hit a score of 50. Google my name and (as of this writing) six of the 10 links on the first page are about me. The top link is my LinkedIn profile. Two out of the four images are me, too.
I think it’s to my benefit, though. Nothing out there is bad. I’m still especially mindful of what I say, even more now that my name isn’t hidden behind the digital curtain.
I heard someone talk about the “Friend, Mother, Boss” rule and if you follow that with your alternate identity, you should be fine. I definitely subscribe to that (and even censor myself some) when I’m posting on Google+ or Twitter. The way I see it, if there’s something crass I’d say to friends, I might as well just text them instead of broadcasting it for the whole world.
The internet is public space, in my opinion, and I treat it like such. That being said, I’ve found embracing my identity online to be both liberating and fun. It’s nice to control who I am, no matter where my name happens to be. I know some people aren’t afforded that luxury.
To the Anons out there, the next one’s for you.]]>
I don’t even know how to get into this one, really. Most of you probably weren’t aware I have a sister (she’s a year older than me), but we’re super close and she’s one of my best friends ever, and probably the best sibling I could have asked for. Anyway, after being with her boy for five years, she’s engaged.
I won’t get into all the how he did it (with a crossword puzzle/jumble thing) or how she had her suspicions. I just thought it fitting to write about it, because this is pretty heavy stuff. I’m also super appreciative I was way in the loop prior to the proposal and all that, because I specifically requested to know before her relationship status changed on Facebook.
Fortunately for all of us, her
boyfriend fiancé had had all of the parents, his/her best friends, and me and my girlfriend up to date before anything happened. Noble even kept me updated when he was looking at rings, when he’d picked a ring, when the date he wanted to propose was on his best friend’s wedding, etc. It was awesome.
For the post-engagement celebration, everyone met up at Chuy’s for hours of talking, eating, and hanging out. Twas awesome.
I’ve put up a gallery of photos from the night off on the gallery page, but know I didn’t take a single shot. That was all my dad and his trusty SLR (a Nikon, I think).
Overall, Wednesday was probably one of the most joyful nights I could have imagined. Noble and Gabby are absolutely made for one another and I couldn’t think of a couple more suited for one another.
For my sister’s take on it all, check it out here.]]>
Alright, I know I promised the Google/Motorola post would be up by Tuesday, so I kind of dropped the ball. My bad! Anyway, I’ll just jump right into it.
Some of this is sheer speculation on my part (that others ended up bringing up, as well) and some of it comes from a post about the whole Nortel patent thing. Looking at the Google/Motorola acquisition, three big points comes to mind.
1.) Google had this planned out way in advance, and played the fool on the Nortel bids to drive up the price
This isn’t really my thought at all, but it bears repeating. For the original post about it, see RealDan’s blog. In a nutshell, Dan purports that Google bid those crazy prices (Brun’s constant, Meissel-Mertens constant, and pi) to artificially drive up the price of the Nortel patents and force the consortium to overpay.
Did Google ever plan on winning? Maybe. But the group of people working against them (of which Apple and Microsoft are leading the charge) wanted to keep Google’s pockets empty, and they knew that. So ever higher the price went.
Dan’s evidence for his speculation? The idea that you just don’t pull big, $12.5 billion mergers together overnight. He says all signs point to Google and Motorola working this out for a while, maybe even before Google went into the Nortel bidding process.
If that’s true, Google knew they were going to be getting some patents regardless, so even if they did win the Nortel bid, they’d just have more patents to protect themselves with. Google wins no matter what, and, having lost the Nortel bid, gets to laugh all the way to their patent-filled fortress at the idea they drove the price up so much.
2.) Motorola Mobility makes set-top boxes, and thus Google has an easy way to raise Google TV adoption
If this is totally off-base, let me know, ASAP. I actually started off by asking on Google+ if Motorola Mobility makes the set-top boxes or if the other company does.
From what I gathered, that’s still MMI, and if Moto Mobility somehow works the Google TV stuff into their set-top boxes (and therefore removed the need for a separate box), that’d be awesome. I’m not very inclined to know what they’d have to do to make that happen, but it would certainly put Google in a powerful position in the home.
Granted, you’d have to then start bundling some of those ridiculous controller/keyboard contraptions with every new box, plus you’d need to include some instructions, but the cost-to-benefit ratio seems off the charts.
3.) Google wants to go the Apple route by controlling the hardware and the software
I have a hard time believing this one, but between Google actually buying out Motorola Mobility and Cyanogen getting hired by Samsung, I guess anything can happen.
Some people have speculated that Google wants to try and cut down on the number of mediocre Android devices on the market by controlling the hardware and software, which starts with Motorola. But making sure the hardware is always top-notch and runs the software without issue, Google could effectively cut out some of the fragmentation people are always QQ’ing about, but at the cost of alienating their other partners.
I don’t see this being the case because it would make all of the “they’re going to still run mostly independently” thing a sham, and I’m not sure Google would want to risk that sort of negative PR with the public, outright lying and all.
Some folks have also speculated Google wants to try and beat Apple at their own game by first clamping down on fragmentation, then building up a series of Google-branded stores where they sell their special Google merchandise exclusively (I assume phones, tablets, and Chromebooks would all make the cut). I don’t see it happening and I’ll leave it at that.
4.) Google is looking to protect Android… from Motorola?
This one is the most out there, and I definitely cooked it up myself. I’ll admit, I’m pretty sure it’s insane and not accurate, but after seeing an article suggesting Motorola (Mobility) might charge licensing fees to other Android manufacturers, it remains a slim possibility.
Obviously Google is looking to acquire patents, and rightly so, with all the patent trolls running around all willy-nilly. Would the Big G end up paying $12.5 billion just to keep Moto from hurting Android’s other OEMs? Probably not.
But what about getting the patents plus the added bonus of keeping Moto from putting even more hurt on the other OEMs? Maybe. I still think it’s probably the weakest of the four points, (yes, even weaker than the Google Store idea), but even if it wasn’t Google’s intention, they’ve inadvertently prevented Motorola from doing that anyway.
Everyone seems so excited (that is, other OEMs) about Google’s “commitment to defending Android,” and while that mostly seems like canned responses from everyone (because they are), could Google be protecting everyone else from more licensing fees?
So there you have it. Wild speculation from not only myself, but some of the other
tin-hat wearers progressive thinkers (ha!) out there.
Agree? Disagree? Sound off.]]>
If you’re reading this, you’re probably as surprised as I am. (Here’s a hint: Google + Motorola.) I woke up to use the restroom this morn and I was greeted with my Gmail inbox blowing up over the fact that Motorola Mobility was just bought out by Google. With the little information we’ve got, it’s time to speculate just what this could me for Motorola, Google (and by extension, Android), and the end result for the consumer.
Let’s start with what we know for sure: Google is acquiring Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion dollars. This is significant for two reasons, one of which is Google is now in the hardware business, but more on that later.
Motorola Mobility has an extensive patent portfolio, something most of the other Android OEM’s (and Google, as well), don’t have. As a result, Moto was keenly poised to protect themselves from the onslaught of litigation surrounding every Android candybar and tablet released, and at one point, sounded like they were going to charge licensing fees to other Android OEM’s, too.
That might have made sense for Moto, as their newest phones (the Photon 4G and the Droid 3) weren’t moving units like HTC’s and Samsung’s latest stuff, but would have ended up hurting the Android ecosystem much worse than all of the lawsuits from our least favorite fruit-themed company.
With this acquisition, Google now owns the patent portfolio, and you can be sure they don’t plan to charge fees to other Android manufacturers. If their aim is to truly “supercharge Android,” stifling other companies with fees wouldn’t be the way to do it. I’d bet money, however, that Google won’t be afraid to use this newfound patent muscle to toss a more protective umbrella over all companies working with Android.
And speaking of Android, let’s not forget that Moto makes hardware, so now Google does, too. Google has always been quick to point out that they don’t do hardware, they just closely oversee things, but that’s done now. Even if Moto Mobility still runs largely as its own entity, Google is calling those shots, now.
How will that translate into phones for us, though? Hopefully it means a little bit better hardware design along with a new, improved UI. Phones like the Atrix (and it’s sibling, the Photon 4G) have been largely critcized for their unique design, with people asking where the smooth, rounded corners are. In a world of HTC, Samsung, and, dare I say it, Apple, the end consumer is fairly trained in what they think ”good” design is.
The one caveat to this is the (true) Droid line of phones. They were marketed as intense, hardcore, manly, cold, calculating pieces of awesome. Their design reflected that, with less-than-round corners and a sliding keyboard. With a fairly unchanged design even though the Droid 3, I doubt we’d see dramatic change for that line in particular.
For everything else, though, maybe Google will guide some creative decisions, eschewing the less mainstream designs to help Motorola actually move some product.
And what about
Blur the UI formerly known as Blur? If I were to guess, I’d assume Google phases it out, if they don’t axe it suddenly and completely. On more than one occasion, Matias Duarte has mentioned how hard they’ve worked to make the vanilla Android experience so good people don’t need skins/UI over top of it, and now that Google is in the driver seat, perhaps it’ll finally be so.
And what about everyone’s favorite rumormill phone, the Nexus Prime? We know for a fact that Google has opted to use the TI OMAP 4 series to be the reference processor for Ice Cream Sandwich. The TI OMAP 4430 is already in the Droid 3 and the upcoming Droid Bionic. Could this deal help Motorola secure (or foreshadow) the inevitable Nexus Prime?
Maybe so. We know Motorola already has experience with the TI OMAP 4 (as does LG), and they haven’t manufactured a Nexus phone yet. OEM’s
usually always have to capitulate to Google’s demands when they make a Nexus, so doesn’t it make sense that Google does their own Nexus, in-house?
Some of the rumors out in the interwebs would suggest that either Motorola or LG is/was making the latest Nexus, so with 50/50 odds coupled with this latest purchase, I wouldn’t be surprised to see MotoGoog end up being the Prime’s creator. Let’s just hope they drop the Pentile Matrix screen.
This is a huge move for Google and Motorola alike, and has huge ramifications for Android and the whole smartphone ecosystem over. With Google now in charge of hardware, they can start making some incredible (and hopefully stock) Android phones. With the war chest of patents Motorola Mobility owned, they can finally (and truly!) protect their OEM partners against
Apple general patent trolls.
Just look at the outpouring of support from the other Android heads of state.
And this goes farther than just Android, too. Anyone remember WebM?
Motorola owned Google owns a bunch of H.264 patents now, too.
Now things are going to get interesting.]]>