• Reviews and Hands-on

    by Published on 08-21-2014 08:35 AM
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    2. Reviews and Hands-on,
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    I'm a big fan of the location-based app Foursquare, or at least I was. I never really cared much for its social media aspectsóthe leaderboards, the mayorships and all that. So I should be thrilled that the developers decided to break out the social stuff and move it to a new app called Swarm, repurposing Foursquare proper as a recommendation engine to more effectively compete with the likes of Yelp.

    Instead, they've very nearly ruined the experience for me. What's worse, in a little test I did last weekend, the new Foursquare app doesn't even work. ...
    by Published on 08-20-2014 04:40 PM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
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    Today, Iím reviewing the Mazda3. Why a Mazda3 you ask? Why are you checking out a car? The answer is simple, Iíll review anything if I see it as an accessory for my phone. Until recently, cars and phones were very separate pieces of technology. You might be able to use your car to make calls and maybe play music from your iPod but other then that, thereís been very little integration between the two.

    That is until now. While weíre still in the initial stages of bringing the two together, itís still worth checking out where weíre at right now. Mazda let me borrow a 3 with their solution called Mazda Connect which is what Iím checking out here: ...
    by Published on 08-19-2014 07:35 AM
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    2. Commentary and Analysis,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on,
    4. Carriers
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    There's been a fair amount of blowback on these forums in regards to Roam Mobility's migration to LTE data. If you didn't know, users have had to pay a $1.95 upgrade fee per SIM for LTE access in the U.S.A. And as far as I know, that upgrade is mandatory. Perhaps more contentiously, access to LTE requires that a new phone number be assigned to your Roam Mobility SIM.

    What no one seems to be talking about, however, is the new service itself. I think it's pretty great. ...
    by Published on 08-18-2014 08:35 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Tips,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on,
    5. Apps
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    ... Aaaand I'm back. Did you miss me? Don't answer that.

    As I battle with jet lag over the next few days I'm making good on my promise to share some mobile-related insights from my two-week vacation in Australia. Today it's Android Wear. I got in on the first run of the LG G Watch back in July with this trip in mind; here's how I got on with it while I was away. ...
    by Published on 08-12-2014 02:44 PM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
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    Hereís the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 S. Yes, the name of this phone weighs in at an impressive 9 syllables which is more than the Samsung Galaxy S 5 which has a measly 7.

    Seriously though, the Idol 2 S has a 1280x720 display with a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of RAM and LTE. Yup, itís a Motorola Moto G competitor.

    However, at $299.99 off contract as a Bell exclusive, the 2 S actually costs $50 more than the Moto G LTE on Rogers. So what do you get for your extra $50?
    ...
    by Published on 08-08-2014 08:30 AM
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    2. Devices,
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    Hereís my review of the Blu Studio 5.0C HD. Iím re-using the intro from my hands-on article of this phone I posted a few days ago so if youíve read that, just skip to the last paragraph of the intro and start reading.

    Lately, Iíve been trying to get my hands on as many affordable phones. With entry level handsets, itís always interesting to see how many features manufacturers can cram in without over-inflating the bottom line. After all, I keep saying this but itís worth repeating: The amount of money you have to spend on a phone that doesnít suck keeps falling.

    As this happens it will transform the industry. Companies that are too reliant on selling high-end phones but donít have enough Brand equity will fall to the side (Iím thinking Sony and HTC) while those who understand how to thrive in a low margin environment (those who know how to squeeze water out of the proverbial rock) will thrive.

    Motorola and their relatively powerful brand have been making splashes on the wallet friendly end of the market with their Moto G and E. Other powerful players in this space in North America include ZTE, Huawei and Alcatel which are all seeing their market share grow at Samsung and their high-end Galaxy lineís expense.

    Then there are other players who are posed to take advantage of the shifting market like BLU. Iíll be honest, Iíve never heard of Blu until someone mentioned them in the comments of one of my phone reviews. I decided to check them out and asked them to send me something cheap and cheerful to try.

    The 5.0C was described to me as being a Moto G killer. I noticed Bell is also bringing the ZTE Grand X which is another phone that competes directly with the 5.0C.
    ...
    by Published on 08-05-2014 11:54 PM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
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    Lately Iíve been trying to get my hands on as many affordable phones. With entry level handsets, itís always interesting to see how many features manufacturers can cram in without over-inflating the bottom line. After all, I keep saying this but itís worth repeating: The amount of money you have to spend on a phone that doesnít suck keeps falling.

    As this happens it will transform the industry. Companies that are too reliant on selling high-end phones but donít have enough Brand equity will fall to the side (Iím thinking Sony and HTC) while those who understand how to thrive in a low margin environment (those who know how to squeeze water out of the proverbial rock) will thrive.

    Motorola and their relatively powerful brand have been making splashes on the wallet friendly end of the market with their Moto G and E. Other powerful players in this space in North America include ZTE, Huawei and Alcatel which are all seeing their market share grow at Samsung and their high-end Galaxy lineís expense.

    Then there are other players who are posed to take advantage of the shifting market like Blu. Iíll be honest, Iíve never heard of Blu until someone mentioned them in the comments of one of my phone reviews. I decided to check them out and asked them to send me something cheap and cheerful to try.

    They sent me the $149 Studio 5.0C HD and the $119 Studio C Mini which are both available from Amazon. They were described to me as Motorola Moto G and Moto E killers. Letís check them out: ...
    by Published on 08-05-2014 09:02 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
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    The lower-end of the market is probably the most interesting part to watch because as the Smartphone market matures, you donít have to spend as much as you used to, to get a decent phone.

    One of last yearís heros was the Motorola Moto G. The Moto G was and still is a very usable phone for under $200. It came with a bunch of goodies you donít typically find on other sub $200 phones like a 4.5Ē HD display a Gig of RAM and a quad-core processor.

    Hereís Motorolaís follow up to the G, the Motorola Moto E.
    ...
    by Published on 07-31-2014 08:28 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Tips,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
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    If you were looking for an upstart mobile OS to unseat Android, I can confidently say that this ain't it.

    I loaned my Firefox Flame to Howard last night, perhaps prematurelyóI need to get some parting shots in before I possibly never write about Firefox OS again. It's that bad. It's also a shame, because Mozilla has lots of (I can't believe I'm about to say this) "brand equity" for freedom beards like yours truly. Honestly though, after putting up with Firefox for the past ten days, I'm pretty much over it.

    I've already written about how the Flame lacks the basic PIM features of PDA phones from seven years ago; here are some more reasons why you probably want to avoid it. ...
    by Published on 07-30-2014 09:38 PM
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    2. Devices,
    3. News,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
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    Just got back from an Alcatel event in Toronto where they announced that the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 S is coming to Bell and Virgin Mobile.

    It's a mid-range LTE enabled device that has:

    • 5", 1280x720 IPS display
    • LTE (band 1/2/4/7/17)
    • 1.2Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
    • 1GB RAM
    • 8GB storage
    • 8/1.3MP cameras with 1080P capture
    • 2150mAh battery
    • MicroSD


    It will launch with Android 4.3 with a 4.4 update within 3 months of launch.

    It will be available in white or slate.
    ...
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