Howdy all, it's been about a year since I did an AMA and I'm about to enter my third year as EiC here at Engadget. I thought this might be a good time to check in and say hello again and see what ya'll are wondering about. It's a pretty exciting time for us on the staff, what with the recent return of Peter and Ryan to the family and the impending start of our San Fran event, Expand!

As ever, please ask me anything about Engadget, gadgets in general, dog ownership, growing up in Vermont, ice racing, beard trimming or any of the myriad other topics I know a little bit about. I'll do my best to reply.

I'll verify once this is up via my Twitter handle @Tim_Stevens, and on Google+ and Facebook as well.

p.s. Here's my previous AMA, for those who like things:

Comments: 268 • Responses: 112  • Date: 

zombiepete25 karma

How do you feel about many people's perception that Engadget is inherently biased towards Apple and Apple products vice competitors (i.e. Android, WP8, etc.)? Do you feel that rings true and why or why not?

TimStevensEng22 karma

I'm lucky (?) in that I get a lot of accusations of bias directly applied to my inbox, and you might be surprised to learn that these days we actually get as many accusations of being biased toward Android as any other OS. In fact we get a surprising number of emails accusing us of being Nokia fanbois. So, in general, I feel like our accusations of bias are pretty balanced.

But, to be serious, I can assure you I have zero tolerance for bias on the staff.

zombiepete14 karma

Tech blogs are starting to feel like a dime a dozen; between Engadget, The Verge, Slashgear, etc., there's no lack of places to go for tech news, and based on my RSS feed a lot of the stories are the same. What do you think sets Engadget above the rest, and what are you doing to keep readers coming there first for tech news?

TimStevensEng16 karma

Oh, lots of stuff. A few highlights...

1 - Focus. We're focused on consumer tech -- we've branched out a bit to include software/services/startups/etc. but we maintain our strong focus on gadgets.

2 - Comprehensive, dependable yet enjoyable to read reviews. Brad's HTC One review yesterday was 6,000 words of comprehensive analysis of that phone, including our standard battery rundown test and a suite of benchmarks showing where it fits in the grand scheme of Android superphones.

3 - Exhaustive events coverage. We're continuing to dial up our coverage from events like CES and MWC, sending more people and hitting more posts than ever. Obviously the import of trade shows like this is shifting as more companies do private, boutique events -- but we're going to be exhaustively covering those, too. We'll have a fleet of folks at Samsung's GS IV event tomorrow night, for which I am personally very excited.

4 - Trustworthiness. We argue about supposedly leaked photos and etc. endlessly on staff, making sure that we're 100% confident in whatever we hit. Check out our score on Am quite proud of that.

Anyway, just a few highlights...

zombiepete7 karma

I will say that Engadget continues to be my "go to" place for reviews; your right that the HTC One review was fantastic and continues to demonstrate why before I buy tech stuff I check to see if Engadget reviewed it first. Thanks for the response.

TimStevensEng3 karma

Thank you!

MyPackage3 karma

Speaking of the HTC One, did you have a review unit? If so, what do you think of it? Tempted to switch from your Galaxy Note II?

TimStevensEng2 karma

I sadly missed out, but will be snagging one of our review units at Expand this weekend. Can't wait to test it!

TimStevensEng13 karma

Sorry if I'm a little slow to respond right now. Had to take one of my pooches to the vet unexpectedly. Hope to be back to a proper keyboard soon.

TimStevensEng22 karma

By way of apology I humbly submit this adorable picture of my dog hiding from the vet under a chair:

flaim10 karma

What do you think of Google Glass?

TimStevensEng16 karma

I think it's a very impressive piece of technology that I think will surprise people with its limited functionality. But, it's going to pave the way for some amazing wearable tech later this year.

It's also surprisingly comfortable and not distracting.

Kldsrf3 karma

Please elaborate on the "limited functionality".

TimStevensEng5 karma

It can, basically, take pictures, videos, do hangouts, navigate you places and do very simple searches. We saw some new functionality at SXSW but people who think they're going to get a full smartphone experience on Glass are going to be a little disappointed.

hotsauceCharmander1 karma

So it has its own data plan? Or does it need to be BT paired with a smartphone to share the data?

TimStevensEng5 karma

My understanding is BT and WiFi support, but it'll be more or less driven by a phone. So, yes, sharing the data from there.

iltdiTX2 karma

Also for the love of God please provide the world with what it actually looks like to look through Google Glass! I've looked and looked but I can't find anywhere that shows what you physically would see if you were wearing Google Glass. What does the screen look like? How clear is it? How out of the way is it???

TimStevensEng2 karma

Google's video is the closest I've seen:

Basically, the little display is translucent, so you can see through it, but the image reflects internally on it. The image is way up out of the way, right at the edge of your field of view.

Let's see. Take your right hand and hold it at arm's length, up and to the right of your field of view, so that the top of your hand is just in view. That's, very roughly, the perceived size of the screen.

Gyianz9 karma

Why was the real reason Joshua Topolsky left? Was it an internal conflict?

TimStevensEng12 karma

That's a topic best directed his way.

stumblingblock19149 karma

Is Google TV ever going to be a widely used product? I enjoy mine, but there just seems to be very little support on Google's end.

TimStevensEng7 karma

Man, I wish it would. It has the potential to be better than 90% of "smart" TV interfaces out there, but it needs support. Google's definitely continuing to throw more weight behind it this year. I hope that'll drive some increased OEM support in 2013.

TechJKL8 karma

How would you handle a situation like CNET's hopper situation, where a corporate interest of AOL came down and told you that you were not allowed to report on a story, or report a certain aspect of a story due to legal concerns? Also, are you going to be on TWiT again any time soon?

TimStevensEng8 karma

The folks at AOL are too smart to try something like that. They know we'll write what's right. Right after that went down I got a great email of support from Jay Kirsch at AOL basically saying he'd never dream of asking me to change what I'd written. I know that sentiment goes right to the top of the company.

tomhfh7 karma

Do you regret anything about the redesign?

TimStevensEng7 karma

I do, but most are internal missteps relating to some unfortunate political struggles that would take ages to elaborate upon here. And wouldn't be that interesting.

The result was we had too little time/resources to come out the gate with something quite as comprehensive as I had wanted. Specifically, while the site is responsive, it isn't optimized for enough discrete resolutions. Something we'll continue to improve this year.

So yes, I do have some regrets, but I'm still happy to say that the new design is better than the old. It loads more than twice as quickly, demands a fraction of the data usage that it did before, doesn't look crunky on Retinaish displays and, most importantly, isn't a ball of spaghetti code like the previous one was!

It gives us a firm foundation to build upon for this year. And build we shall!

am__7 karma

In your opinion, what's the most exciting technology that most consumers don't yet know about?

TimStevensEng6 karma

I'm pretty excited about IGZO displays this year. In theory they could result in very nice looking, very low-power panels for smartphones. In theory. That, plus the new Qualcomm chips, could mean a very good year for smartphone battery life.

wanderlusterbater7 karma

Do you lurk on TheVerge?

TimStevensEng5 karma

No, I don't.

probablynearyou6 karma

What phone do you use...and is engadget really biased towards apple?

TimStevensEng9 karma

I use a Samsung Galaxy Note II, which I think is ugly and plasticy but I still love it for its features and amazing battery life.

There is no Apple bias. You'll find more Android devices in the pockets of our editors than iPhones.

TimStevensEng1 karma

I use a Galaxy Note II, and nope.

Cecil_Hardboner6 karma

Tablet computers: should I just wait 1-2 more years for the tech to fully develop, and prices to drop? I like the current tablet format, but i want the power of a full computer in it, so that it can fully replace my laptop, and that seems to be just on the horizon.

TimStevensEng4 karma

Talking Windows I presume? There are some great options out there now (the ThinkPad Tablet 2 and Surface are pretty great) but their performance tends to be on the low end for a given cost. That will continue to improve through the year, so if you can wait I would - but keep an eye out for back to school specials.

FiberDump6 karma

The Verge is running circles around you guys now with their site design and quality of content (IMO). How do you plan to maintain your competitiveness with them, and all the other tech sites really stepping up their game.

TimStevensEng4 karma

I disagree. I think a simpler, straightforward site design is preferable if you want to know what's the latest news, and we continue to be a news site first. If you look at the recent Jalopnik redesign you'll see the Gawker sites are headed down the simpler is better route as well.

Verge is indeed running great feature content. But our reviews are the most comprehensive, reliable and readable in the business.

FiberDump3 karma

Thanks for your reply! Wasn't trying to come off as a jerk. I do agree that simpler is better, but I find jalopnik's newest design to be hard to quickly browse. The summary at the top of biggest stories helps with that (similar to engadgets).

It says a lot that you took the time to do this so I appreciate it, and hope you guys continue to grow!

TimStevensEng2 karma

No worries!

tachymetre5 karma


TimStevensEng5 karma

I don't mean to speak for anyone here, but I believe that those who did have left.

mastamoon5 karma

Still hanging out in NASIOC OT?

TimStevensEng5 karma

Not as much as I'd like!

St1ck336 karma

Another OTer over here, checking in. Thanks for doing the AMA.

TimStevensEng2 karma

Happy to.

PancakeSpoon5 karma

what's the most underrated gadget in your opinion? Also, favorite gadget you use on a daily basis?

Sorry for the very general questions! big fan of the website!

TimStevensEng4 karma

That's a tough one... I'd be inclined to say the RAZR MAXX HD (or is it the HD MAXX? I can never remember). But then I place a high value on battery life.

And along the same lines I'd be in bad shape without my Note 2. I use it for email, Reddit, taking notes and voice recordings in interviews, navigation, games... Even phone calls!

bardomudo5 karma


TimStevensEng10 karma

We do our thing, they do theirs. Different voices, different angles, different degrees of focus.

I do my damndest to remain as friendly as possible with as many folks as possible, and I have people I call friends on the staffs of both those blogs you mention and many more. I'm not interested in petty rivalries.

Slippery_John4 karma

Do you feel that the Firefox OS and the Ubuntu Phone OS will be able to gain anything more than a niche audience? Why or why not?

TimStevensEng3 karma

I'm sorry to say they're going to have a tough time of it, at least this year. It's a great concept, but I feel like Nokia is going to continue to push the cost of Windows Phone hardware down and down to the point where their devices will be competitive with whatever Mozilla or Ubuntu can manage. And, given the choice, most folks will chose Windows Phone.

stacecom4 karma

Any chance you can get your writers to stop using the term "drop" when referring to technology releases? Records "drop". Using it in sentences like "Apple drops NFC support on April 30" implies Apple is going to stop supporting something, not start.

TimStevensEng5 karma

Actually that's in our style guide as something to avoid! In that usage, anyway. So feel free to email me if you see it being used in such a way :)

soulruler4 karma

Was there a gadget that you saw/reviewed in 2012 that you thought would be a "game changer" and then were shocked it didn't take off like you thought it would?

TimStevensEng4 karma

Honestly, no. I really wanted the Nexus Q to be a success, but I knew better than to expect much at that price point.

opethfan4 karma

If someone wanted to enter the same line of work as you, how would you recommend they do so?

TimStevensEng7 karma

Just start writing. Modern writers are incredibly lucky that there's no shortage of outlets to choose from. Either select a niche and start a blog that obsessively covers that niche, or volunteer at a smaller blog covering something you dig.

Then, write write write and make sure you're getting feedback and improvement along the way. It's a question of talent, for sure, but also a question of passion and motivation.

proggR3 karma

As someone working on a crowdfunding platform (for music, not gadgets mind you), I'm curious to hear your thoughts on how you think crowdfunding will play a role in the technology industry going forward. With such incredibly successful campaigns as the Pebble and the Ouya, its hard to ignore that the model works for certain projects and I'd love to hear your insight on where you think it may go from here.

TimStevensEng3 karma

It's going to reshape the industry nd I'm very excited about it. That someone with a great idea can reasonably launch a hardware product now without going down the venture capital route is amazing. We'll have folks from both Kickstarter and Indiegogo at Expand this weekend and I'm really looking forward to talking to both.

proggR2 karma

I couldn't agree more. Thanks for the reply :). I'll be sure to check out coverage of Expand. Hopefully I can catch a future one in person too.

TimStevensEng3 karma

I hope you can too! Not to spoil anything but this won't be the last...

WouldLoveAJob3 karma

What is the Engadget hiring process like? Are you guys hiring now? I haven't seen a job posting since the AOL take over, are listings now done solely on AOL's career site?

TimStevensEng8 karma

First off, nice handle.

For editorial staff we don't go through the AOL jobs listings at all. If we're expressly looking for someone we'll usually start by asking our current staff if they have any recommendations. The tech journalism community is relatively tight and we get the best candidates that way.

Otherwise we'll throw a post on the site asking for candidates -- and then filter through the billion resumes.

We're not actively looking for anyone right this moment, but that doesn't mean we wouldn't try to bring on someone very special...

mattoly3 karma

I am starting a new tech blogging gig at Forbes right now, but it's not exclusive. I'm a former TechCruncher, CNETer, Giz-er (ew?). Maybe we should chat?

TimStevensEng2 karma

Aha, congratulations then. Apologies, I figured you were just getting started. We typically don't work with folks who freelance for other tech sites. It just raises lots of issus.

rawrr693 karma

Hey! Augustus Polk here from The Wire. So, who signs the overtime slips?

TimStevensEng5 karma

Lay off the booze, Polk.

Elon-Musk3 karma

Hey Tim,

You have always been my favorite tech journalist, I especially liked your Tesla Model S review.

My question for you is what is your opinion on the commenters of Engadget? I feel as though they are one of the most rude communities on the internet. While I love the writing staff, the comment section is unbearable. Do you guys do anything to try and make it better or are you just happy to host a flame war as long as it gets your pageviews up?

TimStevensEng2 karma

Thank you! And we feel your pain. I really thought the switch to LiveFyre would help, and it has, but not as comprehensively as I'd have liked.

We're going to be working on some comprehensive changes to comments this year that I can't really go into, but for now we'll keep working with our (hugely appreciated) moderators to try to keep things as clean as possible.

egglestone2 karma

I don't get why blogs don't use a 'reddit like' commenting system. That way, bad comments would just get hidden and we could better appreciate quality ones.

TimStevensEng2 karma

We tried, Bernie. I probably shouldn't go into details but we were a good ways along that path and sadly had to change course.

oddurs3 karma

In recent years the tech news industry has become heavily reliant on leaked media and information about upcoming products coming from mostly unauthorized sources. While I'm always intrigued by such reporting, I see it as an moral gray area where clicks/views have begun to outweigh journalistic integrity.

What is Engadget's policy on the matter and what is your personal opinion?

TimStevensEng6 karma

We're not above posting leaked information if it doesn't conflict with an NDA or embargo we've signed and if we can verify its authenticity. But, we will not pay for such information.

I personally don't see how posting this information is compromising journalistic integrity -- only when you're paying for it does it get to be murky, or posting something that you don't trust but think will generate a bunch of clicks.

Where do you see the conflict?

TheGoldilocksZone3 karma

I recently got my tech-phobic, 71 year old mother an iPad, and almost fainted when a week later, I found out she was googling, emailing and angry birding. So, what's the next thing I should buy her to rock her tech world?

TimStevensEng17 karma

A Chatroulette account?

coldside3 karma

I like Engadget a lot, but I must say that I've been visiting it less after the website rework. It isn't a pleasant experience on a 16:9 screen with so much space on the sides wasted. I do prefer it though compared to the Verge, whose homescreen is just a convoluted mess. Also, I always liked the Disqus comments, which seemed much more organized than Livefyre. Reading the comments is one of the reasons why I click on articles.

What do you think are the benefits of the newly designed website and changing the comment section from Disqus to Livefyre?

TimStevensEng1 karma

I agree, and I'm pushing to get our responsive design more responsive on high-res displays. Realize I sound like a broken record, but dev resources are always at a premium and we've had a lot of other things to tackle of late.

Re: Disqus, ultimately they weren't willing/able to help us move in the direction we wanted to on the moderation side. That's why the change.

maxpetrock3 karma

What do you think is the "next big thing" coming in the smartphone world? And the same for the electronics world?

TimStevensEng2 karma

Smarter gestures and more advanced UI. Overall quality of design (as in pleasing aesthetics) is going to surge this year too. We're reaching a point where great hardware performance is almost a lock. So, manufacturers will need to raise the bar elsewhere.

campermortey3 karma

What's your favorite part of your job and the least favorite?

TimStevensEng5 karma

Man, so many favorites! I of course love testing out new stuff and being there when it's announced. I really love chatting with readers too, and nerding out about tech.

Least favorite? Well, there's the trolls... And I can't say as I enjoy spending most of my Sundays fighting a futile battle against my inbox.

mabrad12552 karma

Always wanted to ask. Why do you get so worked up by trolls? I still read Engadget after The Verge started because you had better news coverage, but I saw a comment thread where your jimmies were so rustled it was almost funny. Not wanting to sound like a "troll" but I haven't checked engadget since.

TimStevensEng2 karma

Me personally? Do you happen to remember the thread? It's rare I let 'em get to me.

jd1015063 karma

Hey Tim! Met you at the Engadget/Panasonic event in NY!

Are you guys planning on doing any of these events in the future? Was the event itself a success in engadgets eyes? We chatted with quite a few panasonic reps there about designs and such but I never heard any more about the event. I drove from northern VT to be there and I'd love to do it again!

TimStevensEng3 karma

Very soon :)

oh-herro3 karma

Have you gotten a chance to try out google glass? Do you think it's going to take the place of smartphones?

TimStevensEng6 karma

I have! It's important to note that Glass is very much an augmentation for a smartphone, not a replacement. But, with continued shrinking of components it's easy to imagine that happening soon. Of course, then we'll have folks wondering whether having a cellular transmitter next to your head all day is a great idea...

hotsauceCharmander1 karma

I remember seeing somewhere that the Japanese Future Society said in 5 years we will have cell phones implanted in our head (will edit link as soon as I find it) What would the potential of such of a device be, good or bad?

TimStevensEng1 karma

Ghost in the Shell, man. Laughing Man would control us all!

Ahem. It'd be amazing. Absolutely amazing to consume all the data you wanted (within your presumably miserly data cap) instantly and directly to your brain.

But that ain't happening in 5 years. In 5 years I could definitely see a sort of Bluetooth-like headset implanted into your skull that would allow you to make calls and listen to music. I don't see people really making a commitment to that en masse, though -- at least not initially.

phillyd322 karma

As a small-time tech reviewer, I'm wondering how you got to where you are now? Did you work your way up internally? Or did you make your name elsewhere?

TimStevensEng2 karma

Definitely worked my way up, but much of it was elsewhere.

I started doing freelance videogame reviews back in college, which I did for many years. I started a blog that focused on racing games and after a few years of that I got noticed and picked up to write for a sister-blog of Engadget called Switched. After a year of writing there I got to jump over to Engadget in the summer of 2008. After a few years I was promoted up to Automotive Editor and then was given the opportunity to step up to the biggest shoes back in 2011.

HendrickTurner2 karma

I notice a distinct lack of articles about the Amiga... Why is this?

TimStevensEng1 karma

The number of Amiga hacks -- and retro hacks in general -- has sadly seen a huge decline over the past year. :(

liam_jm1 karma

Who's the most underrated technology journalist? Anyone in particular I should subscribe to (besides Engadget, obviously)?

TimStevensEng2 karma

I don't think anybody underrates him, but Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac definitely deserves respect.

Rob_Saget1 karma

Will you be going to the BEA conference in Vegas this year?

TimStevensEng4 karma

TBD, I know I personally won't be.

Rob_Saget1 karma

I've never been but am going this year as part of a school trip. What can I expect to see?

TimStevensEng1 karma

Lots of dramatic posters making dramatic claims about dramatic products :) I've never been to that one in particular, so I can't really say.

Mc2sand3s1 karma

As a 26 year old I find I'm already falling out of touch with technology. It's advancing at such a fast rate I can't keep up, what or how should I keep myself up to date?

TimStevensEng6 karma

Well, we created Distro for folks like you. It's our weekly tablet magazine that highlights the week in tech in a more easily digestable product. Here's the most recent issue:

If you don't want to go through that rigamaraole, you could maybe read my weekly Editor's Letters, in which I try to summarize the week in news:

Or, you know, just email me when you're ready for a new phone. We can set you straight.

aaltoni1 karma

Which one of these u'll think is going to be the biggest one: Sailfish OS, Tizen, Firefox OS or Linux mobile?

TimStevensEng1 karma

Man, tough question! Tempted to give the nod to Firefox or Ubuntu... not sure which I'd lean toward.

BeerSlayingBeaver1 karma

What upcoming technology are you most excited for and why? Also, what piece of technology do you think will revolutionize the way we live?

TimStevensEng1 karma

I'm most excited for Glass and other wearable tech. I really think this is going to be a very exciting year for wearables, to the point where by this time next year those who are early adopters will find themselves reaching in their pockets for their phones an awful lot less than they do now. Really looking forward to that, but perhaps that's because my phone is unusually large...

BeerSlayingBeaver1 karma

First off, thanks for the reply!

I must agree with you on how abnormally common it will probably be in the next year or so for people to have something like Google Glass for example. I've seen a lot of interviews from people who say "oh I'll never wear that. That's ridiculous." However, I believe I would be safe in saying that 15 years ago, people would say the same thing about iPads and (as I previously read in another reply) your Note.

TimStevensEng1 karma

Right, and a lot of people who scoffed at the 5-inch Dell Streak when that came out. Now, the Note II is selling millions. A lot of people won't like it, but a whole lot will.

ReallyBigSnowman1 karma

What recent video game would you say made the biggest leap to "the next generation" in terms of it's technology or features?

TimStevensEng2 karma

Man... closest thing would be ZombiU I guess, though I can't say as I really liked it. It did, at least, make compelling use of the Wii U's unique attributes.

SithLordDave1 karma

I am a huge engadget and joystiq reader. I just watched your htc one review. What do the reviewers do with the phones when they are done reviewing them? Do they keep them? How can a review of a phone not be somewhat biased? For example, a reviewer is uses an iphone but is reviewing an android phone. How do you actually review a phone that you dont use as an everyday phone. I like what Aaron from phonedog does, he gives a phone a 3o day test, He says he uses a galaxy note as his everyday phone but why not use a phone for 2 weeks as your day to day phone then post a review or is the issue with getting the review to website before competing tech sites?

TimStevensEng3 karma

We do hang on to some stuff for a little while to get a feel for it (or longer in my case because I'm slow to ship stuff back), but everything goes back or gets given away to readers. Come to Expand, we'll be handing out a lot of stuff :)

And all of our reviewers take the time to be very well versed in all the major mobile OSes. If you look at Brad's review history you'll see he's spent plenty of time with lots of devices. Though we may have a single primary phone that we've purchased, we're usually carrying around one or more secondary devices to see how they fare in the real world.

I definitely like the 30+ day approach too. We just wrapped up a feature of what it was like to live with the Z10 for a month:

bheater1 karma

Any good electronics shows coming up?

TimStevensEng-1 karma


kingofthekraut1 karma

How do you feel about the "we got the story out first" arms race going on with tech blogs?

Do you think sites like Reddit exacerbate the trend?

TimStevensEng2 karma

Well, it's always been a race, but I feel like things are going too far when people are posting a headline... and then a picture... and then later adding something that actually says something.

We will certainly get a post up quickly with a brief summary of what's going on and then flesh it out as the news develops, but I strongly feel that if you click on a story and see a blank page that says nothing but "Developing..." that's going to leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. That's particularly true if it's labeled as a "hands-on" or the like.

But, who knows. Maybe that'll become the new norm in 12 months or so. While we don't pander to quick traffic boosts, it's ultimately our job to give folks what they want. If you, the good souls of Reddit, are going to be linking to those posts that went up with no information in preference to those posts that came 30 seconds later but actually had something to read, you're kind of forcing our hand...

heebs3871 karma

What are your thoughts on Google vs Apple insofar as do you feel like Google is starting to gain steam on Apple in the "innovative" factor as a company. Apple definitely has the "cool" factor down for the mainstream but with Google Glass and other ventures they are currently dabbling in, it feels like there is a shift happening. What do you think Apple can do to push to the front again?

TimStevensEng1 karma

IMHO it's time for Apple to do something crazy -- something wholly new. An iWatch would certainly qualify...

arkyarky91 karma

What are your thoughts about Canonical and Mozilla getting into the phone OS business? Do they have what it takes to be a force in emerging smart-phone markets? Are they destined for obscurity or niche status in relatively developed markets?

TimStevensEng1 karma

I think it's great but sadly not destined to be a commercial success. As I said elsewhere, I think Nokia is pushing too hard to bring smartphones to developing nations, and it's going to be difficult to beat Nokia's expertise in that area.

I do think they'll be mostly niche devices without some sort of major manufacturer support -- which honestly isn't out of the question. We're seeing HTC and Samsung both downplay the importance of Android in their hardware. This could be a chance for them to really own the OS.

kfreud1 karma

First piece of tech you irrationally fell in love with?

TimStevensEng1 karma

Dating myself... the Sega CD. I couldn't sleep I was so excited to get that thing. The games were... mostly mediocre, but I wanted one SO bad and I played the crap out of that thing.

kfreud1 karma

Piece of tech that really made you think "We're living in the future"?

TimStevensEng2 karma

Every time I look up something on Wikipedia on my smartphone. The world's collected knowledge in my pocket is something I never fail to appreciate.

clipmann1 karma

What is the COOLEST product that never took off that you know off?

TimStevensEng2 karma

Probably have to be the Nexus Q. Ultimately a very limited product with a high price tag that is unquestionably cool.

docx1181 karma


TimStevensEng5 karma

Oh, man. Right now it'd probably be my Xbox 360 -- though I'd be pretty lost without my Galaxy Note II.

Steaktanic1 karma


TimStevensEng1 karma

I didn't, that pleasure was Brian and Zach's. But, from the outside, sure seemed like Grumpy Cat is going to have a great year -- whether he wants to or not.

GatorBone691 karma

I browse the web almost exclusively on my iPhone but I can't stand mobile websites. Please allow us to view the classic site on the phone instead of automatically redirecting to the mobile site! I don't even visit your site anymore because of this issue.

TimStevensEng1 karma

One of the more regrettable oversights in the redesign. It's high on the list for the devs to complete.

TVsNoah1 karma

What is your favorite joke?

TimStevensEng10 karma

Source: DigiTimes

Thishandisreal1 karma

What are your thoughts on your applications specifically Android? I feel with the holo design your applications aren't quite the quality they could be. Distro for example could look a lot nicer.

TimStevensEng1 karma

Well, I'm really curious to hear your thoughts. Ultimately we have very limited dev resources and it's a challenge to support android phones and tablets plus iPhones, the iPad, Windows 8, Windows RT, etc. etc. etc.

The Android version of Distro definitely needs work and there's an update coming very soon.

Pubtemp1 karma

I went to the very 1st Engadget party-gathering at HIRO New York couple of years back. We were told there would be food and drinks offered. After waiting for 2 hrs in the NYC's freezing winter night, we finally made it in. We didn't see any food only to be told they were all out....I was quite upset about it since my group and I were definitely between 60 - 70th people on line out of 300+. I asked around for feedback, everyone told me "they only served cheese and dried raisins, nothing special only only 3 large plates of it was served. Each person's individual plate gets 2 pieces of cheese and a few raisin." I didn't expect much but still not even a single nib of it being consider the 1st initial groups to enter was quite a bad impression. At least I got the free 1 drink voucher, but that's just a piece of ticket that they rip off a giant roll of it...clearly there's thousands of those but limited 1 per person. As for the party/gathering itself, there wasn't much to see, just a couple of new cell phones some other small techs(don't remember) at the front of the room. Hell, I didn't get to get a bag of brochures/posters/small gifts. Everything was out.

TL;DR Walked into a large ball room with loud music, very little tech displays, 1 free drink voucher, that's all. 1st Engadget party in HIRO NYC was a disappointment in my opinion.

What did you guys do to improve it after?

TimStevensEng1 karma

Well... that was awhile ago, before I was planning things for sure. I don't know what happened there but we certainly don't promise things we can't deliver at this point.

At Expand this weekend we're providing a full lunch for everyone... so hopefully that helps.

trollelepiped1 karma

Why big tech press is so distant and hard to approach? What would you suggest people that want to send you the news about their new cool product etc?

TimStevensEng1 karma

I've received about 200 pitch emails in the last 24 hours, and it's been pretty slow with SXSW winding down (for we tech folks, anyway). So, it's not that we mean to be distant or difficult, just that we're totally swamped.

Basically, you need to just come up with a good pitch (in the subject line of an email) and target it very well. If in your email you can show that you're not just throwing stuff at the wall but took the time to figure out what I cover and are sure this is relevant to me, then I'll take the time to read it. If it's a blind pitch you're throwing out by the thousands, I'm probably going to move on.

And if you really want to get my attention, offer it to me exclusively before anyone else...

PawnShop8041 karma

How long will it take for Google fiber to be available nationwide?

TimStevensEng3 karma

If FiOS is any indication it never will be :(

MyPackage1 karma

I guessing you were at least somewhat involved in AOL buying Gizmodo. What's the biggest thing you see the Gizmodo staff bringing to the Endgadget experience?

TimStevensEng1 karma

Maybe you know something I don't but I don't think Gawker's putting Giz up for sale :)

Assuming you're referring to the gdgt purchase, I did have a small part to play, indeed, and am thrilled the deal has gone through. I can't and shouldn't say anything specific, but look at the great things gdgt offers and look at what we have and I think you can see how things might fit together.

MyPackage1 karma

I want your dog Bowser.

TimStevensEng1 karma

He's a good pooch, even when he has an ear infection. Still not for sale, though.

MyPackage1 karma

If you weren't the EIC at Engadget and never got involved in journalism what do you think you'd be doing with your life right now?

TimStevensEng1 karma

I'd be an Enterprise Software Architect, which is what I was doing before this. I left my career in the software engineering world to jump over to journalism full-time at Engadget. I still miss coding and UML and etc. sometimes.

MyPackage1 karma

I'm guessing you've interacted with Arianna Huffington at some point. Have you tried to convince her that there are better mobile options than carrying around two blackberry bold 9900s at all times?

TimStevensEng1 karma

Hah, I have indeed. In fact we've helped her with her BBerries on multiple occasions.

I think she's excited about the Q10 and the work/personal split function.

jeepnerd1 karma

Since the iPad mini (and iPad) have the 4G chip/ability, what is stopping them from being a full on phone? (Phablet)

Is there really any major hardware/software problems that are preventing this?

I use a bluetooth earpiece all day anyway, so the size of my "phone" really does not matter to me...

TimStevensEng1 karma

Not really, no, just public perception. Samsung opted to include phone functionality in the Note 8.0 and, sadly, was widely mocked for it. If anything this will discourage other companies from doing the same.

I'd like to see all WWAN-enabled tablets able to make voice calls as well.

MyPackage1 karma

I think the mocking Samsung received for the Note 8.0 was a result of how ridiculous it looks holding it up to your ear. If Samsung had left the earpiece off the device and included a bluetooth headset for calls I don't think they would have received any ridicule for the device's phone functionality.

TimStevensEng1 karma

Indeed, but I think that earpiece is fine there. I don't know that attempting to integrate a bluetooth earpiece would have resulted in less mockery.

NGU-Ben1 karma

Be honest, best mobile OS?

TimStevensEng3 karma

No such thing. For newbies, it's iOS. For power users, it's Android. For those in the middle, it's Windows Phone. Right now, anyway.

NGU-Ben2 karma

Good answer. Also you have an amazing job :)

TimStevensEng1 karma

I do indeed! But a ridiculously hard one, too.

thebebopfunk1 karma

Can I send you my résumé?

TimStevensEng1 karma

Sure, but it'll take me awhile to respond. tim at engadget.

Casperhn1 karma

How do you see HTC One's chances for closing the gap to the S4 this year. Do you think Samsung will be punished if the design we've seen so far is true for not beeing innovative in hardware design?

TimStevensEng2 karma

If the performance and software features are amazing, I think Samsung will be able to get away with it. If it's a ho-hum "Galaxy S IIIS" sort of upgrade, I do think they'll take a lot of flack.

The thing is, we've seen that Android users are far more willing to overlook the quality of aesthetic design in exchange for performance, battery life, etc. So, whether they'll be punished in terms of sales, I think the answer is probably not -- but I'll be very interested to see how the sales shake out. I genuinely think it'll come down to which is the better performing phone, more so which is the better looking/feeling phone.

I do think there's a market for a high-end, boutique Android device, and I hope that HTC gets the respect it deserves for the One.

Pr0f_Farnsw0rth1 karma

Hi Tim! Avid Engadget reader here. Just a couple quick questions for ya: 1. Without knowing any specs definitively, Galaxy S4 or Motor X Phone? 2. What is your current device and what rom are you running?

TimStevensEng1 karma

Ask me on Friday...

I'm rocking a Note II with the stock ROM. I sadly don't have time to chase the new hotness on the ROM front.

Santiago11 karma

What's your opinion of Google Now and do you believe that it's going to be available on iOS and stop being exclusive to android users?

TimStevensEng1 karma

It's a bit scattershot but I'm continually impressed by Google Now. It's surprisingly good at figuring out where I want to go and offering up directions, which does make my life easier.

But, I never use it for tracking packages or remembering other things. It still has a ways to go before I start to think of it as a true digital assistant.

Yes, though, I think it's coming to iOS. Its functionality there, where you'll have to run an app to get to it, is somewhat questionable, but perhaps Google can do something slick with notifications.

YouZarkingFrood1 karma

What is the best-received way of pitching a product/article to engadget?

TimStevensEng1 karma

Honestly, a concise email that's specifically targeted to me/Engadget with good product photos and a link to a YouTube video is the best way.

lefferts1 karma

How do you feel about the guys over at The Verge?

TimStevensEng1 karma

As ever the relationship is complex but I always try to keep things friendly from my end.

Casperhn1 karma

What tools are you using to keep your beard so perfect and uniformly every time I see you?

TimStevensEng1 karma

I use a Norelco trimmer with a built-in vacuum, which helps to mitigate the mess to some degree. Try to trim it weekly... but usually it's closer to 2x a month.

I do keep it a little longer in the winter, a bit shorter in the summer.

And that's probably more information than you wanted.

MyPackage1 karma

Remember your Droid Charge? Boy that was a bad decision.

TimStevensEng1 karma

I sure do, I still use it for lap tracking using TrackMaster when I'm racing.

hokies4life7571 karma

Where do you see google taking the Nexus line in the future? Involving Motorola more? Spreading it to even more OEMs? And in your opinion what does the Android team need to add to the OS in future updates like Key Lime Pie?

TimStevensEng1 karma

Google has said they wouldn't favor Motorola, but it's certainly due for a Nexus device any way you cut it. I'd like to see one, and hope they'll do something special for their next phone.

I'd love to see Google include a selection of features that HTC and Samsung have added on, particularly stylus support.

frutabega1 karma


TimStevensEng6 karma

Reddit's an awesome way to learn about tech news, but ultimately that news has to come from somewhere...

Ultimately news of all sorts will continue to be democratized, and that's a good thing, but at some point you need a source you can trust. And, of course, you need news outlets pushing for and receiving early access to news. That's where we come in.

TimStevensEng1 karma

As I said elsewhere, that news needs to come from somewhere. There's a difference between news and news discovery. There are a zillion great means of news discovery these days, but it's rare that those sources are actually generating the news themselves. That's where we come in.

bluecharge1 karma

At MWC and CES this year your writers had a reputation for being obnoxious. At MWC, they sat in the press room, disrupted journalists trying to work and flaunted their freebies (Nexus 7s, 10s) and discussed how much they'd get for them on eBay. How do you feel that your staff behave so unprofessionally and are so universally disliked? And it wasn't a jealousy thing, as BBC staff at both were courteous and well-liked.

TimStevensEng1 karma

That doesn't sound like my crew at all. Are you absolutely sure about this? None of our review units go on eBay and if anybody on my team did do such a thing I would fire them.

Additionally, we do almost all of our work from our private trailer at CES so I don't see how we could be obnoxious to anybody but ourselves.

bluecharge1 karma

Thanks for replying. You employ the likes of Myriam Joire et al, right? And she's not the type of person who is easy to mistake for someone else. Besides, the ID badges are a dead giveaway. There were four of them sat together, loudly talking about eBaying the swag Google had given them, so perhaps they weren't review units, but 'gifts'. Nonetheless, very arrogant and unprofessional - especially in a place where journalists are queuing up to get a desk and file copy.

As for CES - this is true, but everyone leaves the trailer at some point.

TimStevensEng1 karma

We don't accept gifts, either. I'll look into this. I wasn't at MWC but will make inquiries. If you have any more information you can share please feel free, either here or by email. Tim at Engadget.

bluecharge1 karma

Will do. As a side note, having read this whole AMA, you seem like a really cool, stand-up guy. No sarcasm.

TimStevensEng3 karma

That I do appreciate, and I appreciate you bringing such concerns to my attention.

trstn1 karma

How did GDGT come about? It's a brilliant service but I find it interesting you worked with gizmodo since they're essentially a competitor. Were you ever tempted to go it alone?

TimStevensEng2 karma

Well, Gizmodo and gdgt are two different things -- wholly unrelated except that Peter Rojas founded both.

Gdgt came about when Peter and Ryan Block wanted to do something new. It ultimately evolved into what it is today: a great combination of a product database and forum for civilized discussions.

LeatherFeathers1 karma

Do people ever win those completions? After trying for ages.... Jokes, I am sure you have thousands of people's trying as well.

TimStevensEng2 karma

so many thousands.

derevenus1 karma

Scrolled 20% through this post on my iPhone but haven't see anything on (Engadget) Disto yet so I thought I'd ask a question about it.

How does the publishing of articles on Distro work? I started reading it fairly recently and I no longer read the main site anymore (far too much stuff) but I think it's qualities.

Is the content in the Distro just a compilation of the blog posts on the main website or completely new ones?

Thanks in advance.

TimStevensEng2 karma

Glad you're liking it! That was the driving force behind Distro -- folks don't have enough time to consume all the stuff we post.

Regarding content flow, sometimes things hit the site first and then get included in Distro (usually reviews and hands-on posts), sometimes features hit Distro first and then the site (usually big features, like my recent NASCAR thing). Either way,they're custom laid-out for the magazine to look their best.

amartya9161 karma

Tim, thanks for doing an AMA.

Q1. Do you think Sony has a chance with the new Experia range? What do you think is their USP (or could be?) within the barrage of Android products.

Q2. Any chance of partnering with AnandTech (if they are amenable to it) to do some really in depth tech. articles about regular consumer electronics?

Off topic: I think you do interviews really well and like how you let the interviewee actually talk (you need to get Stephen Elop to 'answer' the questions; he seems to be a ninja whiz at dodging the real questions)

Tim, I am a regular Engadget reader for about the last 3 years (sort of overlapped with your coming in as EiC) and I must say that you and your team has been doing a stellar job (also props to the designers for the new web layout, it's the best among tech. blogs).

Your only competition is from The Verge that seems to do video reviews that are much slicker. Its understandable with the amount of gadgets being released that all videos cannot have high production values, but at least the big ones (say an iPhone, a Nexus device etc.)

TimStevensEng1 karma

1 - In Japan? Yeah. But I think it'll take another few generations of handsets here in the US (and some marketing) to really establish that brand on the smartphone front.

2 - Absolutely. Would love to. Don't go there as much as I'd like, but a big fan of that iste.

Re: Elop, that guy is the master of charmingly not answering questions. The absolute master.

I agree re: video quality, but the primary challenge we deal with there is that many of our reviews happen remotely. Almost all of the Verge's happen in NYC. That means they can have a video staff there ready and waiting. For us, it's more of a challenge. But, if you look at our video reviews today vs. those of two years ago, I hope you'll see a huge improvement. We still have a ways to go.

amartya9161 karma

Thanks for the reply. I agree, the video reviews are wayyyyy better than they used to be (sort of knew that The Verge's were all filmed at the same spot, but your reply makes it clear).

Good luck with the upcoming Expand and keep up the good work :).

TimStevensEng1 karma

Thank you! Just got the latest ticket figures and it's looking like a lot of folks are coming, which is great news.

duke827220091 karma

What's your opinion on the state of the game journalism industry? More specifically, the whole aliens:colonial marines deal where reviews couldn't be released until the game came out and a bunch of people already pre- ordered and got a pretty bad game. To me, seems like game companies have the journalists in a head-lock.

Thanks for doing this AMA! Engadget is the first thing site I go to when I turn my computer on.

TimStevensEng1 karma

That's sadly nothing new. It happens in the movie industry too - if you don't see a review before a film comes out it's almost guaranteed to be a stinker. It's a bummer but games journos do the best they can. I do like to pre order games myself, but it might be wise to not open them until you are able to read a review or threw. At least then you can get your money back.

mean_bean2791 karma

I have been reading Engadget for at least 4-5 years now and still use it as my primary source for tech info. Just wanted to say keep up the great work! But fix the video links in your WP8 app please, otherwise, awesome job!

TimStevensEng2 karma

Thanks! I honestly wasn't aware of video issues on the WP8 app, but I'll inquire.

TheMentalist101 karma

In your unusually objective position over the tech-world, what do you think will be the next most important direction/focus of development?

P.S. If you're ever free, it would be a privilege to do an interview (for paper or podcast!)

TimStevensEng3 karma

You mean overall direction for the consumer tech industry? I think we'll continue to see an increased sophistication of design, as we've been seeing over the past few years, but a big push this year will be wearables, which I'm really excited about.

And I'm pretty swamped right now with the final prep leading up to Expand, but happy to talk when I have time. Email me if you want to try and set something up: tim at engadget dot com.

chaostheory66821 karma

Why has the variety and depth of articles on the site changed in recent months? I have been a user for years, but I now find the content much less varied and engaging.

Plus it is very buggy right now, how are you addressing these issues?

TimStevensEng1 karma

February is typically our slowest month, so perhaps that's what you're seeing? Everything kind of crashes for the time between CES and MWC -- though HTC certainly spiced things up a bit more.

What sorts of bugs are you seeing? You can submit 'em here:

100110011001 karma

When is the BBC Show airing?

TimStevensEng1 karma

Next week, I think? That's a Giz thing :)

[deleted]0 karma


ChicagoGeek846 karma

That was Gizmodo

bitbytebit1 karma

was the original comment talking about the jerks at E3 that kept turning off peoples presentations?

While reading this AMA I kept thinking man, where is all the hate and boycotting we're supposed to be doing.

ChicagoGeek841 karma

He asked if Engadget ever faced any legal consequences for buying the stolen iPhone prototype.

TimStevensEng1 karma

We didn't. We were offered the phone but we passed. Gizmodo is the one who purchased it, but they were just exonerated.

FeNgArAeRiTh0 karma

Engadget used to be my favorite tech website, but it slowly started to grate on me that you guys tried to work a joke into as many headlines as possible. Did you guys stop that, officially? I haven't been there in years but a quick survey of the site today (my first visit in 2+ years) shows only serious, informative headlines.

TimStevensEng1 karma

We do try to keep posts light and humorous at times because... well, sometimes writing about monitors can get a little boring and some levity helps.

We definitely still do the humor bit, but we try to never be lame.

kfreud-1 karma

  1. First piece of tech you irrationally fell in love with?
  2. Piece of tech that really made you think "We're living in the future"?

TimStevensEng1 karma

1 - Answered that elsewhere, but it was my Sega CD, which I obsessed over.

2 - Looking up stuff on Wikipedia on my phone!