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All posts tagged "hardware"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Engadget Reviews the Droid Bionic

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 10:00 AM

"It's been said that absence makes a heart grow fonder, so it was with very willing and eager hands this week that we received the Droid Bionic, Motorola's latest high-octane, robot-themed assault on Verizon Wireless subscribers."

With a dual-core 1GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, about 23GB of usable storage space, a 960x540 4.3" screen, 1700mHA battery, LTE 4G, and 1080p video recording the Droid Bionic is a very respectable device. Engadget has a nice review with lots of photos and video that goes into detail about things like performance, battery life, and accessories - including a WebTop laptop dock thing like the Atrix.

I generally like what Motorola does with their hardware. In this case I'm not sure about the CPU/GPU choice. Also I think the VGA front facing camera was a bad choice. I would expect a 2MP front facing camera on a high-end phone. I've seen the PenTile screen on the Droid X2 and I like that. Check out the review and let us know what you think. Is this the Droid you've been waiting for? If you bought one I'd love to know how you like it so far!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

HTC Vigor Photos on Droid-Life

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 10:00 AM

"Hello, HTC Vigor. You have eluded us for the most part up until now, but we are excited to finally get a clean look at you. With your red accents, big beautiful screen, and black rubbery Incredible-esque contoured back, we would gladly accept you into our everyday lives."

Droid-Life has two pictures of the upcoming HTC Vigor. This is a high-end phone with a 1.5GHz Snapdragon dual-core CPU that has the Adreno 220 GPU. It also has a 4.3" HD (I'm guessing they mean 720x1280) screen, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage. Oh yeah, and it has LTE if you're wanting the latest and fastest thing out there.

My biggest question would be how's the battery life? Other than that, this looks like a great phone! Questions, comments, more info...we would love to hear from you!

V-MODA Vibrato Headphones Reviewed: They're Worth It

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:30 AM

If you've ever shopped for headphones, you've likely come across V-MODA. They make a variety of headphones in different price segments, but I've never reviewed any of them until now. I was offered the chance to review the V-MODA Vibrato headphones ($129.99 USD from Amazon), and since I'd heard good things about V-MODA headphones, I said yes. I'm glad I did, though that conclusion took some time to get to. Confused? Keep reading. Read more...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Androinica Reviews the Droid 3

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Talk" @ 10:00 AM

"I’ve never used the original Droid, and I’ve only heard good things, so the prospect of using an official Droid was exciting. The first week, however, I couldn’t get into the phone right away. I rarely took the Droid 3 with me because it seemed sluggish, but I finally buckled down to figure it out and came away modestly impressed with the third version of one of Motorola and Verizon’s most popular brands."

This is a good concise review of the Motorola Droid 3. Though I'm not a fan of physical keyboards on phones in general I really don't like them without dedicated numeric keys. I was glad to see they finally fixed that and added a new top row with numbers. I'm also glad they added MicroHDMI. The fact that it can record 1080p video is a nice touch as well. Also, I was glad they finally bumped the screen up from 3.7" to 4". I think screen size is so critical when you're using your finger, and not a stylus, to push on-screen buttons. I was very surprised that the reviewer found it slow at first. I haven't used it but wouldn't have expected that from any dual-core phone running Gingerbread.

Do you have a Droid 3? If so, what's your favorite feature? How has the performance been? If you don't have a Droid 3 does it have the features you're looking for?

Friday, August 26, 2011

HTC Puccini Coming To AT&T With LTE

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"Have a gander. Take as long as you need. That, friends, is the AT&T-bound HTC Puccini, and it'll be the first tablet to hit Ma Bell with inbuilt LTE support. According to our sources, the Android-based slate is currently in testing, and should be hitting the markets in the not-too-distant future."

Can you imagine if we were all still stuck with GPRS speeds? As good a start as it was, the increase in speeds for our mobile wireless activities has payed a really large role in our adoption of smartphones and what they are capable of. Of course, we now see speeds where we can stream HD movies, share pictures in the blink of an eye and exceed our data caps in mere hours. The only complaint that I have with tablets and netbooks having built in LTE or wireless data connections for that matter is that they usually tend to be tied to specific carriers. Yes, each carrier uses different technologies or frequencies, but if an expensive device like a modern tablet is going to have wireless connectivity, why not make it compatible with more carriers so that if one does not fit your liking, you can always change?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

High End Phone HTC Ruby Spotted for T-Mobile

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 10:30 AM

"While the HTC Ruby is a bit of a mystery device a ninja source of ours we’ve been able to gleam a little bit of intel surrounding the specs and eventual launch. First and foremost this is not a myTouch device but will launch with a set of impressive and sure to please specs."

Wow, this looks nice to me! The HTC Ruby will supposedly have a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, a 4.3" qHD (that's 540x960) screen, an 8MP rear camera, 2MP front camera, Bluetooth 3.0, and 1GB of RAM. One interesting design feature is it will have two dedicated camera buttons. One is for stills and the other is for video.

I'm usually not too excited about devices on T-Mobile but this one looks sweet! I would take this over the Galaxy S II any day because of the screen with higher resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio if nothing else. I'm guessing the CPU is the latest Snapdragon which uses the Adreno 220 GPU, which is supposed to be faster than anything else out from what I've read. My only concern would be battery life since this is coming from HTC and it's got some newer hardware. HTC doesn't have a very good track record with battery life on bleeding edge phones (Evo, Dinc, and Thunderbolt come to mind). What do you think? Is this the phone you've been waiting for?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

T-Mobile to Release Samsung Hercules as Galaxy S II Next Month

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 10:30 AM

"As the rumored U.S. launch in September approaches, we keep seeing more and more rumors about the U.S. versions of Samsung’s best selling phone. We have previously reported on a supposed version from AT&T. We also discussed that one analyst believes Verizon will get the super phone first. Now, it looks like T-Mobile’s version of the Galaxy S II has posed for some photos."

If you've been waiting for the Galaxy S II it looks like next month you may be able to get it from T-Mobile. It's interesting that there may be differences in the CPU/GPU and display type depending on the country. It looks like the US may be getting the Tegra 2 version with a Super Clear LCD. Some countries will get a Samsung CPU/GPU with a Super AMOLED Plus display. The Tegra 2 version could have the Super AMOLED Plus display as well. Check out the Wikipedia article for more info. Either way it sounds like a great 1.2GHz dual-core CPU/GPU, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a MicroSDHC card slot and an 8MP rear camera that can record up to 1080p video. It's also apparently the thinnest start phone other than some NEC model only available in Japan. Would the fact that it only has a 480x800 display be a deal breaker for you? Would Samsung's past track record of slow OS update releases scare you away? Let us know your thoughts!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hands-on with the Speedy Galaxy Tab 10.1 4G from Verizon

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 10:00 AM

"By now, you should be familiar with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. We've done countless hands-ons with the super-svelte Honeycomb slate, and even reviewed it... twice! Now it's back, again, and this time its packing an LTE radio tuned to the frequencies of a little company known as Verizon. Outside of a few tiny cosmetic changes -- the brushed, gray plastic back and the rumored Micro SIM slot up top, nothing else has changed."

It appears, based on preliminary testing with this tablet, that Verizon's 4G is indeed super fast, with an average (repeatable) testing speed of 28+ Mbps downstream, and nearly 8Mbps upstream. Thunderbolt testing produced repeatable results of 44+ Mbps downstream, and 9+ Mbps upstream. Did I mention that this is fast?

If a compelling reason is needed to jettison existing hardware, software and carrier-relationship, this may be one! Now if only those pesky usage caps would disappear, or become more realistic.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Latest Xoom 4G LTE Upgrade Rumor Says September is the Magic Month

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 10:00 AM

"We just received word that Motorola XOOM 3G owners could will see an email from either Moto or Verizon today with details about their 4G LTE upgrade. According to our source, the email will inform them that the upgrade will not happen until September"

If you were one of the first to buy the Xoom you're probably disappointed that you've had to wait this long. The good news is, there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Verizon has announced that the LTE upgrade will be available in September. At least the Xoom did get Gingerbread 3.2 and it has at least some support for use of the MicroSDHC card slot. If you have a Xoom I would be interested to know if the lower bandwidth of 3G has been a real problem for you. Do you think it's holding you back or are there a lot of things you're not downloading because it would take too long?

Monday, July 18, 2011

T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide Unboxing

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Talk" @ 01:00 PM

"If you’ve been sitting around with nothing to do hoping that someone would post a 10 minute video of the myTouch 4G Slide then by golly you’re in luck! Our favorite unboxing pro, Aaron is back at it again with a lengthy look at the 4G Slide."

This is a good unboxing video. It doesn't go into a lot of the technical details but it does a great job of showing everything else about the phone. I didn't realize how powerful this was until I started researching it for this post - though the video made me want to find out more. As stated in the video it has a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor. That has the Adreno 220 GPU which is probably the fastest GPU you can get right now. The rear camera is supposed to be the best one in any phone. It has a rear illuminated sensor like in the iPhone 4 but it's 8MP instead of 5MP in the iPhone. It has enhancements for low-light and it the phone has a mode for taking HDR photos. It can also record video at 1080p. The screen is only 3.7" which I think would be too small for me but that's more a personal preference thing. It comes with an 8GB MicroSDHC card and has MicroUSB and MicroHDMI ports built in. I'm not sure about the RAM or built in storage but the previous model had 768MB of RAM and 4GB of built in storage so it should be respectable. I would love to hear how the battery life is on it. Though it's got a fast CPU/GPU it should have a small die size since it's so new and that saves power so it could use less then the single core Snapdragon's of last year. Do you have a myTouch 4G Slide? I'd love to hear how the battery life is and how you like the phone in general. If you're looking for a new phone on T-Mobile I definitely recommend that you consider this.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sony Style Comes to the S1 and S2 Tablets

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 10:00 AM

"Now that Sony has spilled the carrier-exclusive beans on at least one of its tablets, the S2 clamshell, the company kindly gave us a chance to get some long-awaited hands-on time with both it and its sibling, the S1 slate. And at time when it feels like we handle a new Honeycomb Android tablet every other day, these at least usher in some pretty unusual form factors. On the one hand, you've got the S1, a 9.4-inch number whose rounded wedge profile was designed to mimic a folded magazine. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there's the S2, which opens to reveal twin 5.5-inch displays -- all the more of a novelty since we've barely seen Android 3.0 running on devices that don't have 10-inch displays."

Sony Style is alive and well in the tablet space! The S1 is a 'standard' tablet, with rounded edges and a wedge shape, making it ergonomically efficient, as well as easy to hold. Results indoors were very good, and the 1280x768 display was great for viewing a movie, even from the side and at an angle. Results outdoors are unknown, as this was a very short hands-on.

The S2 is a clamshell form-factor, with two 5.5-inch screens. According to the review, when closed, it looks like a large case for eyeglasses. When open, there is a bezel separating the bright screens, making for a less than optimal viewing experience. No other details are available at this time.

Nothing reported on software other than to mention that Honeycomb (Android 3+) is there, and Sony has done some work at the UI layer to make the user experience "better." Speed of the S1 and S2 seemed similar to other Android tablets, described as "pretty zippy," and both devices are both PlayStation Certified (hello games!). I like this clamshell idea, so it'll be interesting to see how apps perform with two small screens available - or is it logically one screen with a chunk of plastic bezel in the middle?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Slate For Every Taste

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 01:00 PM

"Between a slew of new Android Honeycomb slates and the HP TouchPad, shoppers have plenty of compelling Apple alternatives to choose from. Here are the 10 tablets we’re most excited about."

The iPad has been out for over a year now and continues to dominate the consumer tablet marketplace. Competitors have had over a year to develop their own slate goodness and some alternatives are starting to gain traction. Unfortunately, few will ever seen a fraction of the media attention that the iPad gets, but Laptop Magazine has compiled a useful list of some options. After being inundated with tablet after tablet, I have to admit that they are all starting to look alike to me, even the iPad. I wonder how long it will be before the slate tablet, with all the energy put into it, will start turning out to be a commodity item, much like how the traditional computer is seen.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Amazon Android Tablet Release Possible as Early as August

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 09:30 AM

"Amazon is poised to step into tablet PCs and will launch models as soon as August-September, with targeted global sales of four million units for 2011, according to Taiwan-based component makers."

Could this be the for Android Tablets what the Motorola Droid was for Android Phones? Amazon/Verizon Droid/Kindle - all some names with muscle behind them! We'll have to see. Now that Honeycomb has been cleaned up a little with Version 3.1 and more and more tablet optimized Android apps are released every day this fall could be a good time for a well respected company to release some good Android tablet hardware! The info from the source basically says Amazon wants to hit the Christmas season and it will use a TI CPU/GPU instead of the more common Tegra 2. I think that could be a good thing with rumors suggesting the TI processor has better GPU performance. It also mentions that Amazon will provide movie streaming services for it. Are you holding out to buy a tablet until you see what Amazon releases? What do you think about Amazon getting into the full-featured tablet business?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Acer Iconia A500 Review: Better Alternatives Available

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Acer Iconia" @ 10:30 AM

"Next in our series of Honeycomb tablet reviews is the Acer Iconia Tab A500. The A500 was the second Honeycomb tablet to go on sale, and is one of four on the market at present, all of which are very similar. They share basic specs—10.1” 1280x800 displays, NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 underhood, 1GB LPDDR2 RAM, 16-64GB onboard NAND, front and rear facing cameras with HD video capture, basic wireless connectivity options, and stock versions of Android 3.0/3.1 Honeycomb (albeit with different preloaded software packages)."

A telling comment is that the reviewer liked the A500 better when he read about it than when he actually had one in his hands to review. Cheaply designed and cheaply manufactured, the A500 is good for a bargain price of $379 (where it has sometimes sold at MacMall's eBay store), but the alternatives are better. His recommendation is to wait for the next generation of hardware to appear, or, if you can't wait, to look for an ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, if you can find one.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Archos Arnova 7 hits the FCC, on the cheap

Posted by John London in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 08:00 PM

"For those who like their Android tablets cheap, it looks like Archos is ready to unleash yet another budget-friendly addition to the Arnova family stateside."

Is this tablet something that would interest you? Unfortunately, the specifications are still under wraps. I would think this will sport a 7 inch screen (18 cm). Archos has announced 8 and 10 inch screens. This is a low cost device which is targeted for the penny pincher. I have not used Archos equipment and limited exposure to Android, so chime in if you think this device has potential and tell me why Android is good.

UPDATE: Here are some further details about the tablet...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Surf The Friendly Skies With A Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Posted by Jason Lee in "Android Slates/Tablets & Accessories" @ 02:00 PM

"Move on over, Delta. The 200 iPads at your JFK terminal may entertain some folks waiting to board, but before the year's out American Airlines will start switching out 6,000 in-flight entertainment systems with Samsung 10.1-inch Galaxy Tabs."

When I fly it's usually one step above luggage class so this is something I'll never see. It looks like American Airlines will be replacing their old media devices available to those who sit in the front seats with fancy new Galaxy Tab 10.1s. Samsung made quite the splash in the Android phone market with their Galaxy S phones. Now it appears they are off to a pretty good start in the tablet realm. Good news for Samsung, even better news for Android.

Amazing Innovations Coming to your Smartphone Soon

Posted by Adan Galvan in "Windows Phone News" @ 06:00 AM

Robert Strohmeyer over at Maximum Tech has provided a survey of many of the technologies that will be making their way in to mobile phones over the next few years. Technological advances in display technology, cameras, batteries and more will transform the way consumers utilize their phones. Personally, I'd be happy if I could get a battery that could last more than a day on a single charge. Hit the link for a preview of the future!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Verizon Expands LTE Wireless Network

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "The Competition" @ 11:16 AM

"Verizon Wireless announced 19 more cities that will get its faster LTE wireless network service starting Thursday, bringing the total to 74 metropolitan areas."

19 new locations across the country, including Sacramento, CA, Hartford, Conn, Boise, ID and many more. You can get the full list here in case you are wondering if your city made the cut. This just adds fuel to the competitive fires so to speak as AT&T is going to launch their own LTE 4G network this summer in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas Houston and San Antonio, while Sprint is rumored to be in the planning process to add LTE to it's 4G network. This can't come soon enough for me, with data speeds up to 10 Mbps it certainly will leave 3G in the dust.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Spilling Ink" on the HTC Flyer Tablet

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 11:30 PM

"As an ink blogger, the feature I’ve been most enthusiastic about testing on the HTC Flyer is ink. The Flyer is designed for pen input in a way unlike other pen tablets before it. What I’ve found is the experience breaks out into quantity vs. quality. It’s easy to spill a lot of ink, but it ain’t always pretty."

"Spilling Ink" is the author's term for writing in digital ink, or writing and drawing with a digital pen on a screen. An early gotcha is reported, in that the stylus can only write or draw, and not be used to click or drag, or manipulate the tablet's UI. A pen is a pen in this case, and not a finger substitute.

The bottom line is that this is a good start, but there is plenty of room for improvements.

The Droid 3 is Coming! Three Tutorial Videos Leaked!

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 04:00 AM

"Verizon and Motorola have kept a tighter lid on the Droid 3 than many recent smartphones we've seen, but a nice big leak just sprang from the bottom of the pot -- startup gadget blog PhonePads obtained three tutorial videos of the five-row QWERTY slider strutting its stuff."

The Droid X2, Droid Incredible, and even the Bionic which won't be out for a while have had lots of information released early about them. We haven't heard much at all about the Droid 3 until now. Three training video's have leaked out. It looks like Motorola has blocked access to them now so you may not be able to watch them anymore but those videos did give us info about what to expect. It now has an 8MP rear camera that is apparently an upgrade over the one in the Droid X or X2. It also has a 5-row physical keyboard now, the 5th row providing numbers. They have taken away the physical camera button, like Moto did with the Droid X2. Oh yeah, and the rear camera can record 1080p video! And what good is HD video recording without an HDMI port - so of course they threw in a MicroHDMI port too!

I'm not a fan of devices with physical keyboards in general but if I was going to buy one, this is looking pretty good. What do you think?

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