… of the year, 2014

Chris Lacy
Dec 31, 2014 · 9 min read

My balls are bigger than your balls of the year: Zuckerberg/WhatsApp.

The oh to have been a fly on the wall for those meetings of the year: The numerous discussions between Google and Samsung that eventually resulted in the offloading of Motorola, the embracing of Wear, the patent agreement and everything in between.

That was really, really really hard to sit on and not blert out to everyone of the year: The internal email chain I accidentally got copied on that spilled all sorts of juicy details about future Android versions and future features of a few very well known apps.

Moonwalk of the year: Apple’s embracing of larger phones. Runner up goes to Google’s offloading of Motorola.

Most carefully worded, hand washing denial of responsibility statement of the year: Apple’s response to the celebrity hacking scandal. Unquestionably people should take stronger steps to ensure the safety of their private data. But as the custodian of 100s of millions of people’s data, Apple’s failure to acknowledge the multiple and magnitude of their own fuckups in this situation was as disgraceful as it was expected.

Eye-catching technology line of the year: Steve Cheney:

Google is ambitious to a level we have never seen, building drones, cars and robots, all of which will be controlled through permutations of Android

Light bulb moment of the year: Benedict Evans:

Are we quite sure (to speculate wildly for rhetorical effect) that we won’t be running Android apps in a sandbox on our ChromeOS phones in 5 years?

Eye opening entertainment line of the year: Troy Carter:

It was more about building a platform on top of music — because music, we realized, sells everything but music.

I did not see that coming of the year: Apple’s decision to allow 3rd party keyboards with iOS 8.

Fools hope for next year I’m clinging to only because of this year’s I did not see that coming of the year of the year: iOS 9 will see Apple allow custom launchers.

Ugly girl who’s been hanging around for the last 15 years and suddenly became brutally hot of the year: Animated gifs.

Technological announcement I find myself constantly thinking about of the year: Octocopters.

The Defence Against the Dark Arts failure to find a successful candidate of the year: My 3 (count them) false starts attempting to have someone else take over active development of Action Launcher from me.

Alls well that ends well of the year: The above point. I ended up starting over myself and am immensely happy I did.

Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to what you just said, and may God have mercy on your soul of the year: Anyone who ever commented on the status/validity of Link Bubble’s patent application on r/Android.

You bent over backwards way too much to placate content holders and now you’re really screwing your paying customers of the year: Google Play Music’s 4 device deactivations a year. Or is this no longer in effect? It was when I wrote this. Now, who knows.

I forgot how good this movie was of the year: Two Hands. Scorsese/DiCaprio could remake this in a heartbeat and it’d be this decade’s The Departed.

That movie was terrific, and I will never forget it as long as I walk this earth, but I never ever want to see it again of the year: Requiem for a Dream.

I still feel cheated and robbed by your series ending, but I’m over it and no longer get in a rage when thinking about it of the year: Lost.

You are either delusional or outright lying to yourself if you think that looks good of the year: People who think Apple Watch looks attractive. Apple have enough sway that many people will undoubtedly buy it and wear it proudly. It probably looks about as good as a rectangular watch housing a largish battery can. But it still looks ugly as fuck.

You should go back and re-watch the promo video you released a few months ago bragging about how as a company you excel at saying “no” of the year:

Unexpected acknowledgment that you are indeed human and have a ceiling of the year: Tony Fadell relaying how Larry Page said to him “I’m tapped out. Google can only do so many things.” Also see…

Increased workload of the year: Sundar Pichai collects the award for the second year running. One more year and this award will have to be renamed in his honor.

Depressing technological realization of the year: For all the innovation and customization Android has fostered via thousands of devices, there has never been an Android phone with a camera as good or better than the latest iPhone.

Now extrapolate this around an entire San Francisco block

Collectively you are all so smart, so why did you get such a simple thing so wrong of the year: Whomever at Google decided to open the doors for the I/O Keynote 15 minutes before the show kicked off when there was a line literally around the block. People were still coming in 30 minutes after the show began when Duarte was introducing Material Design. As ridiculous as it was preventable.

Unexpected/blush moment of the year: Getting stopped on the street in San Francisco during I/O by Android framework engineers for them to tell me how much they love Link Bubble.

Unexpected emotional moment of the year: When I had to stop myself from bursting into tears on the flight to commence my 2 week child-free vacation at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 when the little kid comes on screen.

Love/hate API relationship of the year: WebView. It’s a testament to WebView that Link Bubble even exists. But it’s all sorts of frustrating to have to remove expected functionality from your app because of API limitations. To say nothing of the joy when 80% of the user complaints about your app are the result of a stale, broken system API.

M.I.A. API of the year: An interface to allow Android apps to use Chrome to render the web instead of using WebView. If I’m in a good mood, I sympathetically explain this absence by acknowledging the monumental undertaking of such a task. If I’m in a bad mood, I feel like the lack of such an API demonstrates that Google treats the web itself with borderline contempt on their own mobile platform for 500+ million users. Shout out goes to Google Now, for not letting 3rd party launchers join the party.

Feature of Android I most want to see changed as a user and developer alike of the year: Permissions.

Your left hand really needs to talk to your right hand of the year: Google’s decision to not to instantly nix the idea of using temporary tattoos as a shortcut for unlocking your phone once Android 5.0's Smart Unlock came to be.

You finally picked that low hanging fruit of the year: Google+ videos can now be transferred to YouTube with a click.

Declining tech website of the year: The Verge. Their video reviews remain terrific, but the overall site has seemingly descended into almost embarrassing click-bait.

Personal highlight of the year: As a guy who spends most of the year writing apps from home in my boxer shorts who is surrounded by friends and family who all use iPhones, it sure was fun to strap on some pants and talk all things Android with so many like minded and knowledgeable folk on my trips to I/O and Droidcon NYC.

Personal magnum opus of the year: I thought it would have been Link Bubble, but I’m going to have to give it to this:

Career highlight of the year: Link Bubble making Google’s Best Apps of 2014 list.

Career disappointment of the year: The general reception/reaction to Link Bubble was amazing, and the app sold tremendously out of the gate, but I was hoping Link Bubble would achieve a level of ongoing success similar to Android exclusive apps like Tasker, which it so far has failed to do.

Question I was posed that I didn’t have an answer for at the time and I’m still thinking about of the year: Jesse Wilson:

Link Bubble is great, and once you discover it you love it, but how do you tell people about it? They’re never going think to search for an app that loads the web in the background.

(I’m paraphrasing a bit here. Too many beers were had to that point for my to remember an exact quote).

In spite of the huge amount of negativity thrown my way, I continue to feel I make the right call of the year: My decision to charge for Action Launcher 3. Certainly this was always going to be a controversial move, but 2+ weeks on, the positives have far outweighed the negatives. The haters did hate, but the vast majority understood and accepted the decision, and ongoing Action Launcher development is now assured.

Illustration of the value of a strong social media presence of the year:

Smartest advice about independent development I read of the year: Koush:

There are plenty of opportunities to make a high five- to low six-figure salary by attacking projects that would typically not be worth the time of a small engineering team.

Technological development I know will come eventually that I want now dammit of the year: Better battery technology.

Technological development I know will never come that I want now dammit of the year: I’d like to step into a teleporter and end up here every Sunday during the NFL season please.

I’m embarrassed that a case can be made that you and I work in the same industry of the year: The jackass RapGenius co-founder who wrote the (now taken down) How To Steal From Whole Foods post.

Most impressive product turnaround of the year: Motorola came a long way in a short time under Google’s stewardship. Hopefully Lenovo don’t undo too much here.

Single best hardware I held in my hand all year: iPhone 6.

Service I’m using this year that I wasn’t using last year of the year: Link Bubble (duh). That aside, I’ll give it to PushBullet by a hair over Timehop.

Service I’m using this year that I never thought I’d use of the year: Play Movies. Gifting Gravity and BIG started me using the service a bit. Then 2 Bourne movies were on special for less the cost of my lunch. And now I’m checking the deals on a weekly basis filling out my library. Well played.

Product I’m using this year that I likely would have thought largely impossible this time last year: A 6" phone.

App of the year: Google Maps. It’s easy to take it for granted at this point, but I gained even more appreciation for it during my travels overseas this year.

The grass is always greener of the year: I love the fact that I get to spend my time bringing ideas I conceive and design to fruition, but as I observe the public at large using their phones, there’s always a part of me that wonders how exciting it must be to work on a service that reaches the scale of Google Maps, iOS’s Camera app, et al..

Leave now and never come back of the year: Holo era apps (I’m looking at you Gmail).

Wish that is never going to happen of the year: I want to pick the Android device I want, be able to click a button and have it turn into a Google Play Edition device, with software updates issued by Google at the same time Nexus devices get them.

I thought this shit was behind us of the year: The Nexus 7 2013 and Nexus 5 launches were largely smooth and uneventful, and teased that Google’s supply woes were behind it. The Nexus 6/Nexus Player launch feel right back to the darkest days.

You promised a lot, and you did a pretty terrific job of delivering of the year: Android 5.0.

… of the year, 2013 can be found here. Follow me on Twitter or Google+ if you like.

    Chris Lacy

    Written by

    Writer of code, words. Responsible for @ActionLauncher.