So Google just announced a whole slew of Google Nexi and other Google goodness but it feels like it’s initially been hit with mixed reactions from fans. The products themselves deliver a lot of promise with the new larger pixel size in the camera sensor as well as a lot of promise of battery with the new Android sleep feature.

This all does not matter if this is poorly executed and while this is obvious, it will be crucial to the success of these products. Already I feel like we are in a different market to when the Nexus 5 was launched. Competition among mid tier handsets is very healthy with products like the Moto X Play and the OnePlus Two and even on the high end there are an abundance of large phones out at a similar price range with the Note 5 and the 6S Plus. Google will largely need to show that the camera performance is solid and consistent on auto to really wow the press and the average smartphone user. The camera is often a point of contention at Google press events so we’ll see if this is finally the phone with a solid camera.

The design of the devices themselves are interesting to say the least, the 6P seems to have a nicer design than the leaks had let on and it seems like a premium device however this year has been strong for phone design. The build quality of the 6P was praised highly during the press conference so hopefully this will come to fruition. Huawei typically build solid devices so hopefully this is what we will get with the 6P. 

The 5X seems like a mid range device sold at a premium which is a little bit worrying but the camera hardware is the same as the 6P so it should get the same snappy camera as the 6P albeit with one or two features missing which may not be a dealbreaker for some. The design is a little boring but I was never a big fan of the Nexus 5’s design but the price was always low enough to justify the design but when phones like the Moto X Play and the Zenfone are about it feels like people are going to be questioning why they should spend the extra money.

The Pixel C looks like a really nice device and it came with some genuinely nice design features that seem fresh with the inductive charged keyboard and the clever magnetic solution for the hinge. The device itself looks gorgeous but I’m then brought back to reality and realise that Android is severely lacking in nice tablet apps and the platform itself isn’t as suited to a tablet interface as its competitors which is crazy given the potential of Android.

I did like the new Google cast devices announced with optimization in changing Wi-Fi conditions and the idea of taking the Chromecast devices between houses which indicates it may be a better device to take with you. The revamped app seemed intuitive and much better suited to the leanback experience of the device and the idea of pre fetching content means it’s going to be a more immediate feeling of getting to the content you want to see so I’ll be interested to see how well this works. The chromecast audio device seems like a great idea as well and it’s nice that it supports optical In as well as 3.5mm and RCA although I’m not sure on the whole luminescent yellow cable! The idea of repurposing old speakers and having multi room support seems like a great competitor to the Sonos’ and other competitors so it will be interesting to try it all out.

Overall I feel like it was a nice group of announcements but again we’ll have to see if the hardware will match up to the expectations set by the fans and Google themselves. I’ll be interested to see MKBHD’s and The Verge’s takes on all the products.

I don’t like leaving template posts like this but I think some context is in order for this site. Unfortunately my old site is no more after 3 years of blogging and a lack of backups. The original site ( was deleted so now I’m rebuilding the site with a nice material theme and I will be importing some of the old blog posts I was proud of. My portfolio site will live on at and I intend to rebuild it from scratch rather  than using a WordPress theme although this may prove to be a bit of a challenge. In the meantime if people need to contact me, please go to my page or contact me on twitter.

to share to other apps, as well as integrate into key Apple apps through extensions. This allows apps such as Camera+ to have their editing tools built into the photos app which is a huge change in direction. Although at this point in time, I’ve mainly seen options to share to Pocket for example but not WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger but this may come with time. Its also interesting that Apple have allowed third party keyboards which I am accustom to on Android and I’ve found SwiftKey to be incredibly useful. However to do anything interesting like predict your typing you need to enable a switch ‘allows full access’,  which is incredibly offputting. Android also does this when you initially enable a third party keyboard but the permissions are listed in the Play Store so you know whether an app has network access for instance. I’ve heard from multiple iOS users how they don’t feel comfortable with allowing this even if the developer is transparent about what its used for. Installing a keyboard also takes up a square in your home screen which I find annoying.  I’m hoping that iOS continues to improve the third party integration as it helps make the OS a bit more connected.

Personally, I miss being able to do things like click a link and it will open the Twitter app or tapping a Youtube link that opens the Youtube app. iOS adds an extra step to getting to the place you want it to go.

Sharing on iOS
Sharing on iOS

When Apple implements a feature that’s been around a while, they generally put a lot of thought into the design and how a regular user would see it. Take tethering for example, on Android, turning on tethering for Wi-Fi is a switch and you have to select Bluetooth or usb tethering explicitly. You would also have to enable a Wi-Fi password otherwise the tethering is open to anyone. On a iPhone, there is only one switch and it explains you can plug in your phone or connect via bluetooth and it even adds a wifi password by default. This is a really nice and thoughtful implementation of tethering and I think Android could learn a lot from the language used and the idea of guiding users for lesser used features. I could see someone discovering and learning how to use tethering intuitively on iOS and this seems possible with a lot of features in iOS. It even has a Tips app with iOS 8 and this seems perfect for someone who’s just got a smartphone.

Also another thing I found was that using iOS made me quite excited for the new update for Android as iOS bears some similarities to the new features of L (the upcoming update to Android). And thats fine as they both get influenced by each other and you wouldn’t have Android without the iPhone and similarly you wouldn’t have notifications or a bigger iPhone without Android. In any case the features I quite liked were the lock screen notifications which were incredibly handy for knowing what was going on at a glance as well as having pop up notifications in full screen apps. This is being improved upon in L in some respects as theres varying degrees of detail that can be shown in a lock screen notification depending on whether you’re in a trusted location or have a trusted device. I’m sure that iOS had some influence so its interesting to see the root of it and how Android and iOS borrow from each other.

The animations of iOS also reinforced the importance of well thought out animations, as well as the importance of not drawing them out. I often feel like Android is very stark in its animations and the way it resizes windows. Animations are often limited to exiting and entering applications and a few small places in the system UI on Android. With iOS, animations are laden throughout the OS and it really makes it a delight to use in places. For instance, when you’re sending a message in iMessage, you can select an image and that enlarges it and adds a checkbox so you can send more and see it more clearly.  Even transitions within apps have some flourishes that help bring some context. The messaging app also has a progress bar thats symmetrical and makes a sound once its sent. There are some cases where drawing the home screen seems a bit excessive but its nice that it has this to make transitions smoother and provide some context to where the content is coming from. Again a whole new design language focused on animations is introduced in L and I’d be interested to see the differences in the implementation of animations in L.

An example of Animations in L courtesy of the Google Design Docs

So at this point if you are still with me, you may be wondering, why are you switching back to Android? Well as much as I enjoyed my time with iOS I ended up missing features of Android, more than I’d thought in places. Paul Thurrott says that if you go back to something and miss certain features, its a worthy upgrade. I realise that analogy was more related to upgrades, but my point is there are features that I can’t live without on Android, and it feels like a constantly evolving system, whereas iOS seems to have a very slow and steady pace of change that makes it feel like its trying to catch up most of the time. Its carefully designed but I like to see companies be ambitious, but its just not Apples way of doing things. What’s worrying is that Apple seem to be catching up instead of leading in some places, but they are still ahead in the camera department. Though it’s not like they need to make huge leaps, its very clear from using it that if you’re in the Apple ecosystem, you will be quite happy with the device and unless you’re someone like me who likes to tinker and tweak, its a great platform. iOS has done so many things right and its thoughtfully made throughout. I applaud Apple for that but when I see the new features in L where they’re evolving the design language for a second time and overhauling numerous parts of the OS, it seems like the better OS for me. Also Google Now is just a killer feature that I just cannot live without as I’ve mentioned. I think I leave this with a greater appreciation for Apple but I can’t say I can use iOS as my main OS.


For more than a month now, I’ve been using an iPhone as my main phone and I feel like I’ve developed a deeper understanding with regards to why people enjoy iOS. I certainly have a newly found appreciation for the quality of the software Apple produces. However, even after a month or so on iOS, I still feel like I can comfortably go back to Android.



My first thoughts on iOS were the amazing fluidity of the operating system –  and I get the impression that it has been continually refined, so that there are no hiccups (in terms of UI). It feels incredibly responsive and a common trait within Apple’s software is the focus on responsiveness this has been a key feature for most users. Even though I am using a two year old device, it is very snappy and comfortable to use. It is rare that I encounter a stutter, and when I do, it seems completely unexpected. Its not like my Nexus 4, which I know will start to slow if I’m installing updates in the background, and this is something I’ve come to expect.

The camera has really been the standout feature to me. I’m amazed at the speed of it, and how easy Apple make it to take a good picture without the need to fine tune the settings. It feels like I can take a picture without having to worry about changing the white balance for example which is essentially what I want from a phone camera. I feel a phone camera should enable you to take quick pictures of your life in reasonable quality without having to worry about focusing times. Very few phones seem to latch on to this idea, but the iPhone camera has enough impressive post processing on images to really make the experience worry free. This does come at a price of occasionally too much post processing in low light but I’m happy with the speed at which it takes pictures in low light, even if it’s a bit grainy, it still looks great on Instagram. It’s something I’m desperate for on Android and I’m yet to see an Android camera that comes close to the iPhone. I admit this may not fit everyone’s needs as some people like to adjust the ISO themselves and all that but there are OEM camera apps and third party apps that handle this.


The app ecosystem is something which is often contended as the place to go for polished apps. In my month on iOS I definitely found that the large majority of apps were designed in the iOS 7 design, and it was hard to find an app which is developed using an old iOS 6 like design paradigm. It also felt like the apps looked nicer and felt more responsive, apps like Spotify or even my banking app. I also noticed that the O2 Priorities app had a lot more care put into it in the iOS version to the point where it had a completely different and more fluid design whereas the Android version still felt stuck in the Android 2.x days. I find that this is the case for more commercial apps which may not have a team of developers continually iterating on the app. Often it seems that apps are anchored by the support libraries in Android which may not allow the full functionality of the newer features in Android. Hopefully once the 2.3.3 devices drop in numbers, we will see more companies developing smoother apps which do not require the support libraries and can take advantage of newer api’s that aren’t in older versions of Android. However I found it odd that I still couldn’t find a good replacement for my TV tracking application SeriesGuide which allowed me to track my TV shows using and TvTag. I also found that I enjoyed using Reddit Sync more than Alien Blue as I could dismiss an image faster and move on to the next link. Reddit Sync also features better GIF loading somehow but this may be due to the fact that the developer is constantly iterating the app and listening to the users in a dedicated sub reddit. I’m sure that there are iOS developers who are just as dedicated, but in my usage I couldn’t find replacements which were on par. I should mention that the games ecosystem was much better on iOS where I could find DS games officially ported to iOS like Phoenix Wright and 999. This is mainly due to the limited number of devices to test and I don’t think this will change anytime soon.

I was however disappointed by the voice system on iOS and I completely understand that this is more due to the processing power being on the phone rather than the Google Borg cluster searching through various neural nets for information but its something that I’ve really been missing whilst I was on iOS. Google Now felt much more immediate in its response and I felt like I could ask those dumb questions you ask Google and it would tell you accurately. I could ask “when is evolve going to be released” and it will read out the related bit in Wikipedia about when its going to be released as well as what platforms its going to be released on. Siri would just return what it found on the web. You can get Google now on iOS but I found myself using it less just because i couldn’t swipe up to use it and for the time I was using it, I couldn’t do tasks like play a song or set reminders which I used quite frequently on android. Siri did a good job of reminders and timers however. Siri could also give more snarky responses which is a nice gimmick but Google Now felt more useful, and I feel like that won’t change anytime soon since Google is building Now to be a core feature of their platform.

One of my biggest issues however is the feeling that everything is defined by Apple and if you feel like a third party (such as VSCO Cam) do a better job you are locked down to the Apple way of doing things and this can be fine for some. I like that on Android, I can use something like Aviate as my home screen and that I can share things between apps easily. I also like that when I clicked a link to an IMDB page in Google, it will open the give me the option to open the IMDB app, instead of loading it in the browser. This really improves the feeling of a smartphone where everything is connected. Right now it really feels like each app is completely separate, though I do understand that this is by design and it does enhance security. Others might not find this to be as major of a gripe as it is for me, and I’ve seen other people happily continue to use the browser rather than the dedicated apps.

The internet is a funny thing. It’s a great source of knowledge and when you spend your time reading about the latest things, you feel like the go to source for the latest in your chosen subject. For me it was video games for a long time, however the big problem with spending your time on the internet reading about games is, its too easy to pick a side.

When you’re a kid you haven’t got much of a budget so I suppose it often stems from that; you’re forced to pick a console. We often turn to the internet for validation and others who are just as enthusiastic about the product. Sometimes it’s to justify the potential hefty spend on a shiny Xbox 360.

When you’re a kid you haven’t got much of a budget so I suppose it often stems from that; you’re forced to pick a console

As was the case for me, I chose to lean my bias towards the Xbox 360, brandishing the Microsoft flag, because I felt they provided a cheaper and almost “cooler” system due to the shiny new features, as well as the enthusiasm put forward by Major Nelson who’s podcast I was listening to at the time. I had just received an original Xbox due to my sister winning one at work and it also happened at that time that I moved away from my Runescape addiction to catching up with the Xbox’s hits later in the generation.

At the time Sony had a sense of arrogance, due to their prestige and previous success in hardware, but consumers are often fickle and I am probably the most fickle of consumers. I quickly became a fan of the Xbox and when you see so many others getting behind the Microsoft bandwagon and demonizing the competition you feel some obligation to hate that company.

consumers are often fickle and I am probably the most fickle of consumers

I think The Verge made an interesting point that there’s something that’s quite empowering in being united for a cause, even if it seems like a strange thing to get behind. Often it is like rallying behind a football team or a political candidate, but with much less value on how it affects you personally. Some might say that affects the way in which you use technology, but sometimes people place too much value on how others think about tech or gaming.

Sometimes you put too much energy into converting people into believing your bias towards a company and really its unnecessary. I look back at the amount of time i spent rallying about Microsoft and a lot of the reason was because I thought that was the norm. When you check out the Wii60 forums and feel so enthusiastic about a product, you feel like talking about that product and convincing your friends to also buy into the product so they can join in and game with you or get as excited about Halo.

However, I realised I misplaced my original passion for games for a love of games from only one brand and ultimately its damaging. We all have our natural bias’ even if we don’t admit to it, however, it becomes an issue when you can’t listen to someone with an open mind or respect that some people will like a product despite the apparent “glaring faults” you see.

 I realised I cared about playing good games and it shouldn’t matter about the platform.

I found that people didn’t trust my opinion as much and when I took a step back, I realised I cared about playing good games and it shouldn’t matter about the platform. One thing that always stuck in my head from History class was look at the bias of the source. No one trusts a clear bias towards a product unless they harbor some bias themselves. If someone comes to you with an open mind you tend to trust their opinion more and ultimately its much more interesting. You can talk about the industry at large and talk about the strengths of each and what could be done to improve them and what company A can learn from company B and vice versa.

I quite like Paul Thurrott’s opinion of being critical of the product you most like as you want to see the company grow and learn from other platforms. If you turn a blind eye to other people’s criticisms, you might end up supporting flawed design or a less than satisfactory device. It’s important to listen to criticisms within reason as it’s how you question how things can be better in real terms. When you become a Fanboy of something you go into a mode of apologetics and it doesn’t help anyone.

I feel it’s possible to like a company without having to swear allegiance to them as at the end of the day, they are just consumer products and largely, I’d much prefer to be an unbiased source of information so I can keep a level head and have an informed opinion about a topic, without the slander. I feel I repeated my mistakes to a much larger extent with mobile platforms and I feel like that could’ve been more damaging for me as it could have affected my work.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter enough to ruin friendships or make yourself more of a pain to work with.

I say that because in the real world of work you have to get along with others and it works in your interest to not fight about a topic, no matter how passionate you are. Ultimately it doesn’t matter enough to ruin friendships or make yourself more of a pain to work with.

I think personally it’s been better for me as I’ve been able to learn more about other platforms and really find out why people like the fluidity of the iPhone or why someone prefers the games on the PS3. It also helped me understand why I would prefer a particular platform. Its nice knowing what the flaws and benefits of both sides are and I feel like this will make me a more well rounded source of information and hopefully a better person to talk to about technology.

I didn’t know what to expect from Appsworld. In fact, I booked it with the intention of networking mainly and just being able to talk to other developers, but came away with so much more.

Appsworld was a very odd event in some respects, the show seemed to be surrounded by big business people in suits, looking for a company to boast their app statistics or looking for a company to build an enterprise app. It makes sense in a way that the big contractors could gain the big deals through these events.

Some made it quite abundantly clear they wanted big business customers; I was walking with a friend and one stand was giving away the usual office stress ball and my friend was trying to seem slightly interested in the product but they seemed quite disinterested as they knew we really just wanted the freebie which is quite understandable. Although on the complete opposite end, we had two very excited people come up to us and go “are you Android Developers?” (as we stood there quite surprised that they managed to guess that until we realised we were standing right next to the Droid World stage.) And then proceeded to tell us the wonders of their product and my friend did a great job at going “ye that makes sense” and “wow that’s’ really good”. Whilst I was stood there thinking I have no idea what they are going on about and then he told me had no idea either which made me laugh and gave a huge sign of relief.

There was however some talks specifically aimed at developers and thankfully, I definitely understood them. Some of the talks will be based around the Enterprise world which is to be expected however there were some really well done talks by some fantastic companies. Companies that really have been making some absolutely fantastic well designed apps like the BBC team. They’ve redesigned a lot of there apps to make them more native and this has made there apps seem so much faster as well as respect the respective OS design guidelines whilst still making it very uniquely a BBC app. They did a fantastic presentation on the UX on the Developer World stage and it was really a great experience to hear from some people who’ve designed some great apps like the BBC Radio App.

There was also a really well done talk by the Commons Guy who’s of Android Dev fame I guess from the countless amount of StackOverflow answers he’s given and the great blog over here. I was surprised at how well he presented as its not always easy to make the issues of thread safety continually engaging without needing a minute to process it but he managed it well. It was really useful and i can see myself going back to my notes and the presentation quite a lot.

Another session which I just found really just fascinating was a talk done by the CEO of SwiftKey on the way in which SwiftKey uses ‘inference technologies’ to predict what the users going to say next by building some semantic links etc. It reminded me of my AI course and I’d never thought I’d say it but Prolog did make some of the content easier to understand. SwiftKey continue to be my favorite keyboard apps and its really interesting to hear about the depths they went to actually try and build an intelligent keyboard. The talk itself I should say was more in generalities and more about techniques they found useful so it wasn’t a highly promotional talk. I just personally quite like there software.

I think one of the most memorable talks I went to was the Woz talk. Steve Wozniak is an absolute legend amongst the tech community and it was really quite interesting to hear him talk about his views on technology today. He even commented on the recent Jobs movie and how they portrayed him compared to what he was actually like and even though he may not have endorsed the movie due to inaccuracies, he didn’t seem to think any less of it as a movie and still suggested it was worth a watch which shows the kind of person he is. He also revealed he didn’t have broadband at home and relied on 3G which seems crazy but that’s just a case of where he lives. There was so many interesting anecdotes that he told so again I’d recommend giving it a listen. He was really a down to earth person and it really came across that he’s genuinely a nice guy and will be very open with his fans. I saw a crowd of people by the Microsoft stand and it turned out that at the centre of it all, Woz was taking pictures with people and signing things even though he was still quite jet lagged. I took the opportunity to take a quick picture with him and I was really grateful that he was nice enough to do that. Although the funny thing about that photo was that, I had to take it on my tablet as my phone was charging and then I had to rush somewhere to upload it as the only app i had that actually took pictures on my tablet was Imgur although at conference this was near impossible so I ended up rushing around trying to find good WiFi.

There was another side to the conference however which was fairly new to me which was the networking side, I took so many business cards and gave out so many of my own but it was really quite interesting to talk to other developers and even land interviews with companies in person by actually showing that I cared about mobile development. If you’re interesting in any industry, I really do recommend attending networking events especially if you need a job as I came very close to getting a job with one company but they ended up passing on my details to another company so Its really quite handy to do so. Also its a good idea to write down where you met the person on the back of the card as this can help match the person to the card.

The networking events themselves were quite good and I actually went to two, one was the Find a Tech Job in London meetup which was quite handy and led to me meeting some people to possibly find a job with and another was the Parse networking party. The Parse party was much more relaxed and it was like nothing I’d experienced as it was an open bar with free food all night at a Ping Pong bar which was really quite interesting. I ended up speaking to other coders and having conversations about which platform is the best to develop for. It was really quite enjoyable and it did actually lead to another link even though it was quite a relaxed atmosphere. It was surprising how in the background Parse were and it turned out some of the team was actually DJing and we got to speak to some of the team which was really interesting seeing as they pretty much accomplished the Silicon Valley start up dream of being bought by a big company (in this case, Facebook).

Another thing worth mentioning was that Microsoft and Nokia had quite a big presence at the show and they were showing off there quite slick hardware like the new Surface 2 and the Surface 2 Pro. What was really quite cool was the fact that they had the new Nokia Lumia 2520 on the morning it was announced. I ended up running into someone else from Hull and he told me the next day that that was the only one in Europe at that time so it was quite fortunate that I got my hands on it and it was lightning quick with its Snapdragon 800 processor. I could see someone being quite happy with that device and I hope that Nokia are the makers of the next surface device if that’s the standard they’ve set.

I had a really enjoyable time at Appsworld and looking back its surprising the amount of things that were packed into those two days. If you have a chance to go to an event similar to this then I highly recommend it.

Also here is a link to all the presentations mentioned so have a listen back to them and have a look through the slides.