Android Apps in 2012

As many of you know I’ve been a loyal & active iPhone users since the beginning.

For the past 10 days, I’ve been using the Galaxy Nexus as my main device.

I’ve gotten a feel for Android 4.0 and it is a nice improvement for sure.

But the main thing I’ve noticing are 3rd party apps. 

It’s been a surprise but in my experience Android third party apps look and feel awesome. Especially the ones I use frequently like: Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Kik, Google Voice, Maps, Dropbox, Evernote, Sonos, Runkeeper, exfm, Rdio, Path, Cardcase, Uber (and I’m sure I’m leaving stuff out).

It wasn’t long ago that the state of the Android apps suffered from a double whammy – apps didn’t exist or the ones that did exist sucked compared to their iOS counterpart.

The latter isn’t true anymore. And in 2012, I think we will see most apps exist on iOS & Android. Although my guess is that Instapaper won’t see the light of day on Android (by founder’s choice). 

In fact in my experience, the apps that need the most improvement are Google’s own apps. The browser needs improvement. So does the address book. Gmail is good but needs polish (e.g. I want to be able to easily add someone from mail to my address book, move someone from to: to cc:, the list goes on). 

As a user, the huge jump in quality of Android third party apps is exciting news and should serve as an inspiration to those developers sitting on the fence. 

As a VC, Android’s success brings a slightly mixed bag. The exiting news is that the growing user base with iOS and Android is awesome and continues to justify a mobile first experience. 

However it does mean that to support multiple platform out of the gate, startups will need to raise more money. When we participated in Tumblr’s first round of financing, they only needed two people for a long time – David and Marco. They were 100% focused on the web. They didn’t have to deal with iphone, ipad, and android. The first round was in a pre-app world. It was capital efficient and a different task than startups today.

I’ll bring this post home with my friend Andy Rubin’s tweet the other day. 

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The future for Android apps in 2012 couldn’t look better.

My favorite albums of 2011

In keeping with tradition, here are my favorite albums of 2011. 

10. The King is Dead by The Decemberists. I saw them play in 2010 for the first time and was blown away. I bought this album the day it came out and loved it on first play. Great record.

9. Kiss Each Other Clean by Iron & Wine. For whatever reason, I’ve never been into Iron & Wine. Just never been my thing. But then I heard “Walking Far From Home” which was unlike any other Iron & Wine song I had ever heard. 

8. The King of Limbs by Radiohead. I’m a Radiohead fan. This record won’t challenge the top Radiohead record ever made (that title goes to the Bends). But it’s solid and I’m happy that Radiohead is still putting out quality music after so many years. 

7. Nine Types of Light by TV on the Radio. Do you own this record. If not, go get it. Thank me later. 

6. I Am Very Far by Okkervil River. Found out about the new record on fredwilson.vc. Downloaded it and digging it since. 

5. Hysterical by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. This one caught me by surprise. It took me a few listens. Then I was hooked.

4. Bon Iver by Bon Iver. Wow, what a record. Holocene gets a lot of airplay but the entire album is great. Bon Iver is my go to place when I just need to get my head on straight. 

3. The People’s Key by Bright Eyes. I’ve been listening to Conor Oberst for a long time and seen him live in various bands. This year we saw Bright Eyes play at the House of Blues (fka Avalon). It was classic Bright Eyes all the way. Love this album. 

2. The Year of Hibernation by Youth Lagoon. This record simply blew me away. I can’t stop listening to it. It somehow changes every time I listen to it. I heard Trevor Powers talk about recording this in a garage to get the right reverb effect. 

1. The Head and The Heart (self titled). Die hard fans will call me out on this one. This was technically released by the band back in 2009. A year later then they were signed by Sub Pop Records and the album was remastered and re-released in 2011. Whatever, this band is amazing. We saw them live at the Bowery in Boston and I danced my face off. Great record from the first song to the last. 

It’s been an amazing year for new music. I’m a little sad I only saw two of these bands play this year. My resolution for 2012 is to see more live music. Who’s in? 

It is not healthy for companies to trade at prices well beyond what they are worth. It puts incredible pressure on the team to deliver results that can’t be delivered. And when the stock inevitably comes back to reality, the team feels like they somehow failed. Morale is impacted. The whole things is madness. And who benefits from that first day pop? Only the best customers of the banks who led the offerings. Why should they get a windfall when they did nothing to build the company and when they will be out of the stock so fast it will make your head spin?