The useless Nexus

nexus

I wasn’t impressed by last year Nexus 6, and I’m not impressed by this year’s Nexus 5X and 6P either. The first one was an expensive super-phone (in every sense), and the new phones are not cheap either (at least not outside the US) and they aren’t specially different from the proposals from the traditional Google partners.

Vlad Savov makes a good argument trying to explain what possibly could have motivated Google to launch this products. There were valid reasons originally:

The original Nexus One in 2010 was Google’s first effort at selling its own phones directly to consumers, and was thus the boldest attempt the United States had yet seen of circumventing the market dominance of mobile carriers. The Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus then served as valuable references for the best of Android at a time when Google’s hardware partners were aggravating their users with awful Android skins and long delays on delivering updates. Since then, the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 5 — especially the Nexus 5 — have raised our expectations for what we can get from a good Android phone on a budget

That’s exactly right. Since then, though, the reasons are different, and as Savov points out, it seems Google makes this smartphones just because it can.

It seems Google partners aren’t happy with the situation. Motorola’s Moto X Pure is a good example of a device that should get promoted by Google, and not rivalled by your partner. Maybe Google just use Nexus as ads, like Savov explains, but if that’s the idea, I really don’t see the benefit.

Google should concentrate on making Nexus as the best examples of what a good, affordable device can do with the newest version of Android. That’s it. Let makers make.

Source: Google’s Nexus phones are just ads | The Verge

A bright future for the web and content on the internet

This is a good summary of some of the problems big media assets are fighting against. Google, Apple and Facebook are trying to control the news and our way to get informed. They are trying to control content, because content is the gateway to ads. Quoting Patel:

Unfortunately, the ads pay for all that content, an uneasy compromise between the real cost of media production and the prices consumers are willing to pay that has existed since the first human scratched the first antelope on a wall somewhere. Media has always compromised user experience for advertising.

But the editor from The Verge doesn’t give much alternatives. He doesn’t mention the clear analogy of TV -you’ve got FTA channels, and you’ve got pay-per-view-, and he even doesn’t talk about paywalls, subscriptions, or micropayments.

There are certainly options to the current situation. I see four:

  1. Free content supported by ads: anyone can do this now, and will be able to do it in the future, but ad revenue will decrease, and users will for sure fight against that with adblockers.
  2. Paywalls: sorry, only huge media here.
  3. Micropayments: an option for smaller media sites. Combine that with a subscription model, and you’ve got a viable alternative for niche sites with loyal readers (Patreon is a good example of that kind of service to support those ‘creative’ sites)
  4. Flat rate: you pay a monthly fee ($5?) and get access to the free-ad web. Earnings are divided amongst all content providers depending on traffic (uniques, time spent there, a combination…) and any publisher can join that effort. There has to be someone managing that, maybe a consortium of tech companies providing the tools (browsers, payment gateways, etc). I see Mozilla as a clear example, and in fact the tried their own vision of this with the Subscribe2Web project. Google Contributor is a nice try too.

There are lots of possible answers to the current everything-is-free-or-seems-to-be model. Let’s see what happens, but Apple and its content blocking feature in iOS 9 has changed something here.

Let’s hope it is for the better.

PS: In case you can read in Spanish, I’ve developed this at Incognitosis.

Begun, the mobile adblocker war has

The new content blocking feature in the new iOS 9 seems to have started a renewed interest for privacy. Marco Arment just released his own tool based on the Ghostery (a well known extension for desktop browsers) database.

I wonder how many others will take advantage in iOS, Android or Windows 10 Mobile.

The name of the app, Peace, is a little bit too much for me, though. Misleading and exaggerated.

Source: Introducing Peace, my privacy-focused iOS 9 ad blocker | Marco.org