• Commentary and Analysis

    by Published on 05-27-2016 01:36 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    When it comes to the top end of the market, flagships are more alike than they are different. Of course, the devil is in the details, they’re what separates the has and the has beens.

    I mean, they all come with 5-ish inch quad-HD displays, SoC powered by the latest ARM cores, 3 or 4GB of RAM, that sort of thing.

    So what is different about the G5? For starters, LG is touting the G5 as a modular phone. The bottom part can be removed so that you can attach other accessories.

    It also has 2 rear cameras, no, they’re not for fake Bokeh or 3D or even black and white. The 2nd camera has a super wide-angle lens on it which, in the right hands, makes for some dramatic photos.

    Hmm, modular with a super-wide camera? It could just be what the doctor ordered for an shaking up a slightly stale flagship market. ...
    by Published on 05-27-2016 06:25 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. News,
    3. Commentary and Analysis
    Article Preview



    Yesterday saw a big win for Android and software in general, as a ten-member jury unanimously agreed that Google's re-implementation of 37 Java APIs for Android did not infringe on Oracle-owned copyrights.

    The verdict saves Google from paying a rumoured $9 billion in damages; more importantly it's a high-profile legal precedent for the doctrine of fair use. Said a Google spokesperson to Ars Technica:

    "Today's verdict represents a win for the Android ecosystem, for the Java programming community, and for software developers who rely on open and free programming languages to build innovative consumer products."
    The Electronic Frontier Foundation had this to say about the verdict:

    The verdict is an important validation of the idea that developing interoperable software need not require permission or a license. As Google attorney Robert Van Nest said in his closing arguments, the law expressly endorses fair use—it's a right, not an "excuse," as Oracle attorneys had claimed.
    If you didn't know, API is an acronym for application protocol interface; it can be defined in basic terms as a contract between two pieces of software. A Java developer describing APIs on Quora gives the example of a weather site making its data available via an API.

    What's problematic is that APIs can even be considered copyrightable in the first place. ...
    by Published on 05-26-2016 01:33 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    Last year, instead of releasing one Galaxy S flagship, Samsung’s S line bifurcated into regular and curved versions with the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge. Later on, the Edge line split again with a Galaxy S6 Edge Plus.

    In 2016, Samsung merged the S6 Edge and S6 Edge Plus into, wait for it, the Galaxy S7 Edge.

    Last year, the GS6 and GS6 Edge weren’t all that different so I thought the regular version was the smarter choice. However, this time around, the difference between them is more pronounced. The screen size on the Edge has grown from 5.1 to 5.5” with a few other changes under the hood.

    Is the regular version still the one to get or has it been supplanted by the Edge? ...
    by Published on 05-26-2016 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Commentary and Analysis,
    3. Apps
    Article Preview



    Data Analytics firm SimilarWeb just released a report on the most popular Android messaging apps around the world. The visualizations make this report especially great; for example, you can clearly see from the image here that Facebook is the dominant messaging platform in North America, but WhatsApp is the world's most popular app overall.

    It's interesting to see that Telegram—a popular iOS app known for its end-to-end-encryption—has for Android only really found favour in Iran and Uzbekistan. And BlackBerry Messenger? Well, Indonesians still love their BBM, no matter what platform its on. ...
    by Published on 05-18-2016 06:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis
    Article Preview



    Oh yes, watch geeks exist. In fact, the image for my last Wearable Wednesdays post was lifted from aBlogtoWatch—a site I've since added to my RSS reader to better marvel at the stunning luxury timepieces they write about.

    This week I'm featuring another excellent piece from Wareable, wherein the author Sophie Chara talks to three mechanical watch experts about their views on connected wearables. The entire post is very much worth your time; my favourite quotes are posted immediately below. ...
    by Published on 05-13-2016 06:55 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Commentary and Analysis,
    3. Carriers
    Article Preview



    "Commission prohibits Hutchison's proposed acquisition of Telefónica UK".

    Damn.

    That's the headline of an EU press release and the result of an investigation into a proposed merger of two UK operators—their verdict elegantly illustrated by the infographic you see here. Less choice equals higher prices... who knew?

    The Commission cites two additional reasons for not giving the merger the green light: jeopardizing the future development of network infrastructure and one fewer carrier willing to host an MVNO.

    For any Canadian concerned about the implications of Bell's proposed acquisition of MTS, the UK might seem like some sort of magical fairy land where dreams come true and regulatory bodies have grown a pair. ...
    by Published on 05-12-2016 10:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    I remember when HTC was synonymous with Smartphones. While most of us were still pressing the “3” button twice to enter in the letter “e”, HTC was making Smartphones with HTML web browsers, email, MS office with WiFi and Bluetooth.

    However, their 2015 flagship, the HTC One M9 left something to be desired. If I was to describe it in one word it would be “underwhelming”. On paper it was an improvement over the 2014 M8, but in the real world, it was more of a sideways step rather than a step forward.

    The camera had beefy specs but it wasn’t really that great, the processor should have been formidable but wasn’t really any faster than last year’s model. It just didn’t stand out.

    Fortunately, HTC isn’t messing around with their 2016 flagship; the HTC 10 lines up much better with its competitors.

    In Canada, the HTC 10 is available unlocked from HTC’s website for an eye-watering $999 Canadian. Otherwise, it’s a Bell exclusive. At $349.99 Canadian on contract it’s $50 more than the LG G5, $50 less than the GS7 and $150 less than the GS7 Edge . Let’s check it out:
    ...
    by Published on 05-11-2016 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis
    Article Preview



    One vision for the future of smartwatches would look very much like personal computers today. As the technology gets better (smaller) and Google courts the likes of Swatch and Timex, Apple will inevitably be reduced to a boutique player in the smartwatch space; Android Wear will run on everything else—just like Windows on desktop PCs.

    Wareable's James Stables sees an entirely different future for the connected computers on our wrists. Why? For the simple reason that wristwatches follow fashion much more than tech. ...
    by Published on 05-10-2016 07:01 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Commentary and Analysis
    Article Preview



    Author, speaker and "influencer" Tomi Ahonen has released his 2016 Almanac, an annual review for the mobile telecoms industry. This former Nokia exec now tours the world on the conference circuit, so one would assume that he knows what he's talking about.

    In what he himself calls his most popular blog post of the year, Tomi shares some key numbers from his research. Let's have a look! ...
    by Published on 05-03-2016 06:35 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Commentary and Analysis
    Article Preview



    The Guardian, the UK news site most famous for releasing the Snowden Leaks, posted yesterday about an apparent deal between Microsoft and Google to cease all regulatory complaints against each other worldwide. Writes The Guardian: "The common corporate line is that the companies want to compete on products, not court cases."

    Microsoft still makes more money than Google, but the gap has steadily gotten smaller and Redmond clearly needs to adapt. The company has focused its crosshairs on what CEO Satya Nadella calls systems of intelligence—continuous and connected looping data streams, providing greater insight into the world around us.

    Harvard Business School Professor Shoshana Zuboff has a more sinister name for it: surveillance capitalism. ...
    by Published on 05-02-2016 06:35 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Commentary and Analysis
    Article Preview



    The LA Times ran an interesting story over the weekend about yet another iPhone-related court case in California.

    Paytsar Bkhchadzhyan, the girlfriend of a suspected Armenian gang member (and a convicted felon herself) was ordered to unlock her iPhone with her finger via Apple's biometric security feature, TouchID.

    The order got the go-ahead thanks to a warrant signed by a U.S. Magistrate Judge, and therein lies the problem: U.S. law sees fingerprints as evidence, not testimony; but personal data provided through fingerprint authentication on a smartphone is tantamount to testimony. Some legal experts worry that this violates every citizen's 5th Amendment rights. ...
    by Published on 04-22-2016 03:36 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Commentary and Analysis,
    3. Apps
    Article Preview

    Yesterday I wrote about Desjardin Insurance’s Ajusto app and wasn’t planning to write about it again for a while but I wanted to mention a few more things I forgot to yesterday.

    First up though, since I’ve been using it for more than a day I got my first score (as opposed to a trip score) on my iPhone.

    After a day of very careful driving I managed, wait for it, 89 out of 100. ...
    by Published on 04-21-2016 02:58 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Commentary and Analysis,
    3. Apps
    Article Preview

    Before my kids came, I used to really enjoy driving games. Forza 2 on my Xbox 360 was my favorite but no matter the game, the goal was typically the same, get from point A to point B as quickly as possible.

    That is till now. I just downloaded Desjardins’ Ajusto app to my iPhone (also available for Android). It’s an app which analyzes how you drive and gives each trip a score out of 100. You get points for driving smooth, not cornering too hard, not speeding and not accelerating too quickly. Sounds like the recipe for the most boring car game ever.
    ...
    by Published on 04-20-2016 03:22 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis
    Article Preview


    The other day, I wrote about my Nexus 4 and how it’s still able to get the job done. What I didn’t mention was that I was also fiddling with my Nexus One from many years ago. While a bit smaller, feature wise, it’s not all that far from the current crop of Nexus’.

    Oh and before I continue, all the pictures here were taken with the very same Nexus 4 I wrote about yesterday. It’s old, not obsolete!

    I mean the recipe for a smartphone hasn’t changed all that much. They’re still basically just a processor, touch screen, RAM, storage, camera(s), speaker(s), radio and software, all crammed into a bar like device. Despite manufacturer’s best efforts, this recipe probably won’t change for a while.

    Along the way, companies have tried to mix things up. Samsung includes a heart rate sensor on many models. The Note series includes a stylus. They also included a UV sensor on the Note 4.

    A few have tried infrared blasters. There are a handful of phones with dual rear cameras, for various reasons including 2 different focal lengths, fake bokeh effects, 3D, you name it.

    Call it innovation or running out of ideas, but there is one feature which is slowly becoming a standard feature which I absolutely love; the fingerprint reader.
    ...
    by Published on 04-18-2016 07:43 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis
    Article Preview


    Forgive me for the provocative title, but I was doing some spring cleaning the other day when I stumbled across my old LG Nexus 4. Released in late 2012, it’s now a little over 3 years old and no longer gets the latest version of Android from Google.

    I turned it on and it still works just fine. It got me thinking; just how fast is it compared to something more contemporary? And since when is something barely 3 years old not contemporary?

    Since the Nexus 4 came out, it’s seen 3 generations of successors. After the 4 came the LG Nexus 5 in 2013. 2014 saw the Motorola Nexus 6 while 2015 saw a pair of Nexus (Nexi?); the Huawei Nexus 6P and LG Nexus 5x.

    If I may jog your memory, the Nexus 4 came:


    • quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon Pro 1.5Ghz SoC
    • 2GB RAM
    • 8GB or 16GB storage
    • 4.7” 1280x768 LCD
    • 8MP rear camera
    • 1.3MP front camera
    • 2100mAh battery
    • Android 4.2 at release now at 5.1.1


    Aside from lacking official LTE support and the slightly lower resolution display, the 4 doesn’t seem very far off from the latest Nexus devices. So, what kind of jumps in performance do we see from one generation to the next?
    ...
    by Published on 04-15-2016 11:05 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis
    Article Preview


    Previously I discussed the merits of both the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and HTC 10’s speakers. If you missed it, both have different strengths but are excellent in their own way.

    To make things more spicy, I figured I’d toss the iPhone 6s Plus and Huawei Nexus 6P into the equation.

    Next up, let’s talk screens; The HTC 10, Edge and Nexus all have 2560x1440 displays while the iPhone gets by with a more modest 1920x1080. If you look really closely there is a small difference in sharpness between the Androids and the iPhone’s display. However, all displays have more than 400PPI which to my eyes is enough that I don’t really care about having more.
    ...
    by Published on 04-14-2016 02:43 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    Since Andrew is off for a couple of weeks, I’m going to try to take over and share some thoughts each day. Recently, I’ve been playing with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and HTC 10 (LG G5 is coming but not here yet) so I figured I compare the 2. I’ll have full reviews for all 3 phones eventually but for now I’m just going to focus on specific areas.

    As a reviewer, one of my jobs is to figure out if newer models are better than previous ones. However, when it comes to features, once they’ve reached a point where they’re “good enough”, most people stop caring about them.

    A good example is screen size. Once phones breached 5.5ish inches most people stopped clamouring for bigger screens. It’s not to say that future phones won’t get bigger, just that the current crop of screens are large enough for most. If we find new ways to use our phones that require a bigger screen, this will obviously change.

    Another thing people don’t really about anymore is camera resolution. As long as you have more than 10 megapixels (enough to also capture 4K video) most people don’t really care about having more. It’s enough for Facebook/Instagram and thus enough for most.

    Still, there are still areas which can use some improving. Areas which I’ll be focusing more on.



    First up are the speakers. The 10 and Edge both have 2 speakers; one on the earpiece and a bigger one on the bottom. ...
    by Published on 04-12-2016 07:46 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview



    I had a chance to play with the HTC 10 the other day. Here are some first impressions:



    While the 10’s predecessors, the M7, M8 and M9 all shared a common design language, the 10 takes a different approach. The speaker grill stickers are gone in favor of a more minimalistic all-glass front. I don’t know about you but the grills starting to get long in the tooth so this is a welcome change.



    That said, looking at the pictures I kind of wish the silver version came with a white front as the black front is a bit bland but maybe that’s just me. ...
    by Published on 04-12-2016 06:40 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Commentary and Analysis,
    3. Carriers
    Article Preview



    Sometimes pictures speak louder than words. This is one of those times.

    But sometimes pictures need a bit of context. And sometimes you're looking at an enormous infographic on a mobile device and for whatever reason you can't zoom in. In either case, I got you.

    Someone on the Canada reddit assembled a bunch of screen grabs from Canadian carrier websites into a very telling display, clearly showing how plans and pricing across our Big Three carriers and flanker brands are exactly the same. It shouldn't really be that surprising to Canadian mobile users, but it doesn't make me any less angry when I see it, either. ...
    by Published on 04-11-2016 07:29 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Commentary and Analysis,
    3. Apps
    Article Preview



    But our beloved Howard Forums is safe... I think?

    I've become aware of an escalating pushback against ad blocking technology. It may or may not have began with Apple supporting Safari extensions like Adblock Plus in iOS 9—if you didn't know, the iPhone's default browser is said to be responsible for over half of all mobile web traffic in the USA.

    We're now at a point where some sites and advertisers have become openly hostile towards ad blockers. Read on for the grisly details. ...
    Page 1 of 19 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 ... LastLast