• Devices

    by Published on 04-29-2013 09:31 AM
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    Man, Sprint can't get a break!

    HTCís conscious decision to focus on premium design for its HTC One flagship may come with an unintended consequenc: reception problem if the phone is held a certain way. Though we havenít been able to confirm if the problem affects all global and U.S. releases of the HTC One, we have foundĖand are able to repeatĖthe problem on at least two Sprint Nextel HTC One units, one in theSan Francisco Bay Area and another in the New York Metropolitan Area.
    by Published on 04-25-2013 12:50 PM
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    Samsung has done so well with their Galaxy S line that a) many people donít know what Android is b) people think other Android phones are copies of the Galaxy S series (the irony).

    So, without a doubt, one of the most important phones of the year is the Samsung Galaxy S4. Itís a 5Ē 1920x1080, quad core monster with a 13 megapixel camera and a giant 2600mAh battery.

    However, there are a number of alternatives like the HTC One and Sony Xperia ZL with similar specs that are cheaper alternatives. So, letís see if the GS4 has what it takes to stay on top. ...
    by Published on 04-22-2013 07:00 PM
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    Three years ago, when thought of a high end Android phone, the first name that would come to most peopleís mouths would have been HTC. HTC has always had a heritage of releasing great hardware. While people were ooh-ing and aww-ing over Blackberry Boldís, HTC was releasing monsters like the HTC TyTN II. In fact, even though HTC hasnít been doing so well in the marketplace lately, theyíve never stopped releasing awesome hardware.

    Hereís their latest, the HTC One. A phone with a 1920x1080 display wrapped in a sexy metal body. HTC has bucked the trend and gone with a Ďless is moreí approach with the Oneís camera. It also has a new version of Sense and louder speakers.
    by Published on 04-19-2013 02:19 PM
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    Today is the big day! The HTC One is launching across North America today!

    Check out our HTC One threads:

    The T-Mobile version will be coming soon.

    It's got a 4 megapixel camera which in HTC-speak is called an 'Ultrapixel'. So Ultra means '4 million'. It has a quad-core Qualcomm processor that's clocked at 0.425 Ultrahertz (1.7Ghz). You also get 500 Ultrabytes of RAM (2GB), 8 Ultrabytes (32GB) or 16 (64GB) of storage. You get a 4.7" display with a 1920x1080 display, 2300mAh battery running on Android 4.1.2.

    I got a HTC One the other day and I've been comparing it with the Samsung Galaxy S4 and I must say, the One more than holds its own. It's ultra-competitive.

    Who's getting one? ...
    by Published on 04-13-2013 09:26 AM
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    Just got word that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is coming to Bell on May 3rd for $699.95 straight up or $199.95 on an eligible 3yr contract. It will be available in either Black or White (I think). Pre-orders launch on Monday. If you pre-order you can get it as soon as April 27th.

    Check out the banding. Apparently it supports LTE on 700/AWS/850/1900/2100/2600Mhz. I'll have to double check that but if that's the case that's amazing. DC-HSPA+ (42Mbps) on 850/1900/2100 too.

    Now the big question: Coke or Pepsi? I mean do you get the HTC One next week on the 19th or do you wait another 2 for the Galaxy S4? One things for sure, HTC's One delay is going to cost them. ...
    by Published on 04-04-2013 10:33 PM
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    2012 was an exciting year for phones. High definition 1280x720 displays became common along with quad core processors. A few years ago, I would have never imagined that phones would sport specs like this. Just when you thought things couldnít get any better, we now have phones with even higher 1920x1080 displays. Thatís right, the same resolution as the TV hanging in your family room. ...
    by Published on 04-04-2013 01:04 PM
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    HTC, AT&T and Facebook have just announced the HTC First. It's basically an Android 4.1 phone with what sounds like an overlay made by Facebook. From the specs it sounds like a mid-range phone with a 4.3" display, Snapdragon 400 processor and LTE. It will be an AT&T exclusive.

    The overlay is called Facebook Home so it sounds like a Facebook-centric homescreen that has cover feeds (friend's news feeds), notifications, chat heads which sounds like the ability to Facebook messenger without leaving your current app, App Launcher and built-in Instagram.

    From its specs it sounds like it's not aimed at phone nerds but rather people who less concerned about specs and more interested in Facebooking.

    Pre-orders start today and will be available on April 12 for $99.99.

    Who's getting one? Quick! Someone make a MySpace phone! ...
    by Published on 03-20-2013 01:25 PM
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    Today I had a chance to play with the Xperia ZL. It was actually announced earlier this year where Sony along with its sister phone, the Xperia Z.

    Both sport a huge 5" 1920x1080 displays with a mind-blowing pixel density of 440 ppi. You also get a quad-core processor from Qualcomm, 2GB RAM 13 and 2MP cameras

    The main difference between the 2 is that the Z is dust and water resistant plus it gets a glass back. The ZL has a smaller foot print along with an IR blaster so you can use it to control your TV among other things.

    While it has a 5" display, it's not as big as I thought it would be because it uses on-screen menu keys which saves a bit of space. Itís actually about the same size as the Galaxy S III so while I wouldnít call it one-handed friendly, itís not terrible either.

    The display itself looks incredible. 1080p resolution on a 5" display is pretty insane when you think about it. ...
    by Published on 03-14-2013 07:58 PM
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    Today Samsung announced the Samsung Galaxy S4.

    • 4.99" Full HD Super AMOLED display. 1920x1080, 441 ppi with Gorilla Glass 3
    • 1.9Ghz Quad-core processor or 1.6Ghz Octa-Core processor.
    • Android 4.2.2
    • 13 and 2 megapixel cameras
    • LTE with support for up to 6 bands (for roaming).
    • 16/32/64GB built-in storage which can be expanded with MicroSD cards
    • 2600mAh removable battery
    • 130g and 7.9mm thin
    • physical home, menu and back keys
    • available in white or black

    The body is now poly carbonate with a special finish on the back.

    On the software side, Samsung has some new software features including Samsung Smart Pause. This allows you to pause videos by looking away. It also allows you to scroll the browser by looking and your face and what you're doing with your wrists and scrolls the page up or down.

    Both cameras can record pictures or video simultaneously. The camera software allows you to choose frame effects before you take the simultaneous shot.

    There's a Dual Video Call feature which allows you chat with both cameras at once (I think this requires Chat-On).

    There are 2 shooting modes including a Drama shot (no, it doesn't make your wife look fatter causing more drama). Drama shots snaps up to 100 photos in a 4 second span and then chooses specific pictures to create a shot where the subject appears multi times. It's great for action.

    Story Album takes your pictures, puts them into an Album. You can order a physical album if you want.

    Group Play allows you to share music, photos, documents and games without having to be connected to the network or a WiFi access point (presumably this is WiFi Direct). There's a cool Share Music feature which lets you play the same music through up to 8 supported phones.

    S Translator can translate both text and voice. You can say something to the GS4 English, it will translate it into another Language, hear the respond and translate it into English. Very cool.

    Air View allows you to hover over content to preview it without having to open it. This is similar to what you can do with a S-Pen on a Note 2.

    S Voice Drive is a car optimized feature which allows you make calls, check messages, etc while you're driving.

    Samsung Optical Reader is a OCR program/QR code program. It can translate, call, text message and search.

    Samsung WatchON is a fancy name for the IR Blaster which allows you to control your home theater. It can also pull information from an EPG (Electronic Programming Guide, nice).

    S Health is software to tell you you're fat using built in sensor. Certain functions will require you to buy accessories which include a S-Band (presumably like a Nike fuel band), heart rate monitor, etc.

    The new S4 looks nice but many of the new software features while very cool and snazzy aren't features I'd use in my everyday life. Many of them are very niche like S-Translate, Share Music, etc.

    The only one I could see myself using is the Drama Shot feature, WatchON (the IR Blasters) and maybe the driving feature. And all someone would have to do is write software to recreate Drama Shot (I have this on my iPhone already and I'm sure someone made an Android version). Ditto for the driving feature.

    Hardware is a evolution of what you have now. With the exception of the IR blasters I'm not sure the GS4 will really allow me to do anything I can't already do with a GS3.

    In Canada the Samsung GALAXY S 4 will be available from Bell, Eastlink, Fido, Koodoo, Mobilicity, Rogers, Sasktel, TELUS, Videotron, Virgin Mobile and Wind Mobile in Q2.

    In the 'States it will be coming to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, as well as US Cellular and Cricket.

    Who's getting one? Or are you going to keep what you have now or go get a Sony Xperia Z/ZL, HTC One or wait to see what Apple comes out with later? ...
    by Published on 03-14-2013 01:30 PM
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    Today Samsung is having their Samsung Mobile Unpacked event tonight at 7PM. They're going to have a stream of the event here.

    They're expected to announce the Galaxy S IV. There are lots of rumors surrounding the device including a 4.99" 1920x1080 (because 5" is too big), a crazy 8 core processor which is actually has 4 fast cores and 4 slow, low-power cores, 2GB RAM, probably 16 or 32 or even maybe 64GB of RAM.

    Specs are great but they're only part of the story. Anyone can release a phone with awesome specs. Great hardware needs compelling software in order to connect with consumers.

    Starting with the original Galaxy S Samsung became a leader in Android with each new version grabbing more market share Let's look back at what made each one great.

    Galaxy S:

    Back when the Galaxy S came out Samsung wasn't the leader in Android it is today. HTC had the first notable Android devices like the Dream (T-Mo G1) and Magic. They were also the first to release an overlay for Android which was very raw back then.

    The Galaxy S had a 4" 800x480 display which used Samsung's Super AMOLED technology. OLED displays had been around for a year or 2 before the S launched but this one had higher resolution and deeper blacks which really made it pop. The rest of the specs were similar to other high end phones at the time. 1Ghz processor, 512MB RAM, 16GB RAM and a 5 Megapixel camera (but no flash unlike most other phones).

    On the software side, Samsung included their TouchWiz custom overlay and Social Hub. It launched with Android 2.1 and received 2.2 and 2.3 from Samsung.

    When the Galaxy S came out it was kind of infamous because both the design and software were very similar to the iPhone. It's notable competitors included the Apple iPhone 3Gs (came out before), iPhone 4 (came out after), Google Nexus One (before), HTC Desire (before), Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 (before) and Blackberry 9700 (before).

    Galaxy S II:

    By now, Samsung was really beginning to set themselves apart from other Android OEM's. The GS2 kept the original S' resolution but now the screen measured 4.3" and had a less grainy non-PenTILE Super AMOLED PLUS display. Other hardware was beefed up including a dual-core 1.2Ghz processor, RAM was doubled to 2GB the camera now captured 8MP along with a flash and 1080P video recording. Later versions added LTE and or NFC and or bigger displays with bigger batteries.

    On the software side, Samsung added a newer version of TouchWiz which took the Hub idea further and added a Reader, Music and Gamer Hubs. Samsung shipped it with Android 2.3 and it is currently on Android 4.1.

    Competitors included the Apple iPhone 4 (before), Apple iPhone 4s (after), Galaxy Nexus (after), HTC Raider/Vivid (after), HTC Sensation (about the same time), HTC Amaze (after), Motorola RAZR and the Blackberry Torch.

    The Galaxy S II also formed the basis for the original Samsung Note.

    Most of the Galaxy S II line was the focus of Apple's lawsuit against Samsung.

    Galaxy S III:

    Now Samsung is firmly in the driver seat. Not only are they the defacto leader in Android but they are also duking it out with Apple. Again hardware was beefed up. Some versions came with a quad-core processor while others had a dual-core which featured more efficient processor cores. RAM on some versions was upped to 2GB, with some getting LTE. The battery got a big boost, weighing in at 2300mAh

    The display now has 2.5x the resolution going from 800x480 to 1280x720 and measures 4.8". Samsung is back to using a PenTILE matrix display but the resolution is so high it's almost a moot point.

    Design wise the Galaxy S III has a much more organic shape compared with previous versions which while attractive, weren't particularly interesting looking.

    Somewhere between GS2 and GS3 Google finally got their act together and started offering stuff in Android Play so software-wise Samsung put less emphasis on their hubs. Instead, the latest version of TouchWiz has more usability focused improvements like using the front-facing camera to check if you're looking at the screen before it turns it off.

    Competitors include the Apple iPhone 4s (before), iPhone 5 (after), Galaxy Nexus (before), HTC One X (slightly before), HTC One X+ (after), LG Optimus G (after), Sony Xperia T (after) and Motorola RAZR HD LTE (after).

    The Galaxy S III is going to be tough act to follow. Samsung is really going to have to dig deep to find new features to grab consumer's attention. That said, they've built up enough of a brand that even if the GSIV is a dud, people will still flock to buy it. ...
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