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All posts tagged "phone"


Monday, September 24, 2012

High-End Android Smart Phones, What's Here and What's Coming!

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Talk" @ 02:00 PM

One of the best things about Android is you can pick the phone with the features you want and there are plenty of choices. Size, weight, battery life, processor type, display type, display size, connectivity, and upgradable storage are just some of the options you have to choose from. In this article I'll explain what some of the differences are and hopefully help you choose a phone that best meets your needs.

I'll start by talking about some of the technologies in phones, grouping my thoughts by component. Then I will list some of the new high-end phones available now and expected to be released later this year. I'm not covering phones with pen input, like the Galaxy Note 2, because there are only a few of those to choose from. What are you looking for in a smart phone? I would love to hear your thoughts! Read more...


Friday, July 13, 2012

Samsung Galaxy SIII Review

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

http://www.droid-life.com/2012/06/1...laxy-s3-review/

"Are you ready for 2GB of RAM? How about a phone that lets you and your friends share the world with a couple of clicks? Do you want to be a part of the next Android global phenomenon? This is the phone that is supposed to bring all of that – let’s see if it did."

It's almost old news now but the Samsung Galaxy SIII is a hit and still a phone people are talking about. I figured there are probably many who are thinking about buying one but haven't made the move. Check out the review after the break.

This phone is well future proofed (assuming Samsung supports it well) with the excellent performance of the Snapdragon S4, 720x1280 3.8" SuperAMOLED display, 2GB of RAM, removable battery, and MicroSDXC. It's one of the first phones that has MicroSDXC as opposed to MicroSDHC. This means instead of being limited to 32GB of MicroSD storage the theoretical limit is 2TB! They advertise 64GB since that's the largest that's available right now. The 2GB of RAM was a smart move too. Many phones have been limited being upgradable to the next version of Android (whatever it was at the time) due to not having enough memory. That will not be a problem with the North American version of the Galaxy SIII for a while.

I have a few friends who bought it and are very happy with it. The battery life seems to be excellent and the performance is awesome. I think the screen looks great on it too even though it is PenTile. Did you buy the Galaxy SIII? Which carrier do you have? How has your experience been with it so far?


Friday, May 25, 2012

Comcast Introduces Xfinity Voice 2Go

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Software" @ 02:00 PM

http://www.engadget.com/2012/05/22/...-voip-and-home/

"The end goal is to bring the perks you enjoy with your smartphone to your landline. It all starts with an app that's available on iOS and Android (in both phone and tablet-friendly formats) that functions similarly to Google Voice."

Xfinity Voice 2Go lets you answer or make free calls from a mobile phone or tablet over 3G, 4G, or WiFi using your home phone number. It supports concurrent ring on up to 5 different numbers and SMS messages. It also lets you pick up to four additional phone numbers that different members of your household can use for voice calls or SMS. I didn't see any mention of when this service will actually be available.

I love Vonage but this is starting to sound pretty good. Would anyone switch to Comcast Xfinity phone service for these features?


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Coming to the US: Kyocera Rise, Qwerty Slider with ICS

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

http://www.engadget.com/2012/05/08/...-qwerty-slider/

"Kyocera is looking to regain a foothold in the US smartphone market, and curiously enough, it's doing so by catering to niche audiences. First we saw the Hydro, a waterproof handset, and alongside it is the Rise, which features a sliding QWERTY keyboard."

The Kyocera Rise should be an inexpensive phone with the latest version of Android for people who mainly want to do texting. It's CDMA so you can look for it on Sprint or Verizon. It has a 3.5" 320x480 resolution IPS LCD screen, 512MB of RAM, 2GB of built-in storage and it comes with a 2GB MicroSD card. It has a single-core 1GHz Snapdragon S2 processor that should feel very fast especially with such a low screen resolution. It also has a 1500mAH battery that should provide plenty of juice to get you through the day on this device. We don't know which carrier it will go to but my guess would be Sprint.

It's great to see Kyocera ready to ship the Rise with Android 4.0 but it's really too bad they gave it a screen that's so small and has such a low resolution. Really, I can't believe any manufacturer would release any phone with a lower screen resolution than 480x800. At least they put the needed system buttons on the phone so you don't need to waste more of the screen just to show the system buttons. The keyboard looks like the keys are nicely spaced and I always like having an inverted T layout for the arrow keys but I'm also a fan of a 5 row keyboard so you don't need to use a function button to get numbers.

Are you looking for a lean, mean, texting machine? Are you OK with the screen size and resolution? Check out the hands-on video after the break!


Friday, May 4, 2012

Check Out These Videos of the Samsung Galaxy S3

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

http://www.tmonews.com/2012/05/sams...nds-on-roundup/

"We’ve gathered some of the best video hands-on we can find online showing off the Galaxy S III in the flesh."

Unless you've been living under a rock you probably already know that Samsung unveiled their Galaxy S3 Android phone yesterday. It was a huge event in London with a gigantic screen up front that went across the entire stage, a live orchestra playing, and a huge area behind the stage were everyone at the event could go afterwards to try out this new phone. Some hardware of the phone include the 32nm Exynos 4 Quad CPU, 4.8" 720x1280 SAMOLED (pentile) display, RGB notification LED (any color like the Galaxy Nexus!), MicroSDHC slot, 32GB of built-in storage, 1GB of RAM. Some special features include S-Voice which is like Apple's Siri but it listens all the time instead of you doing something to invoke it on the device. It seems like it's smarter than Siri too but time will tell if it is and how useful it really is. Another interesting feature is called "Smart Stay". It will use the front facing camera to check if you're watching/reading the device and if you are it will not turn the display off. I think that's a brilliant idea. They are saying the Samsung Galaxy S3 will be available in Europe at the end of May. They didn't give a date for the US or Canada that I've seen.

Compared to other devices out there one thing that's clearly different is the Exynos 4 Quad CPU. It's the only Quad-core out there in the mobile device world other than the Tegra 3. Like the Tegra 3 it is uses an ARM Cortex A9 base instead of the newer and faster ARM Cortex A15 which the Snapdragon S4 uses. However, according to some early benchmarks at AnandTech the Samsung GS 3 is no slouch. Also, while the Exynos 4 Quad is larger than the 28nm of the Snapdragon S4 it's still significantly smaller than the 40nm die size of the Tegra 3. That should give it an advantage over the Tegra 3 in battery life. It's also nice that it as a respectable 2100mAH battery. I do wonder how its LTE battery life will compare to that of the Qualcomm LTE chipsets in the S4 devices - which apparently have much improved battery life over previous devices. One other thing I should mention, there have been rumors that the US version of the Galaxy S3 will use a Snapdragon S4 instead of teh Exynos 4 Quad.

What are your favorite features of the Samsung Galaxy S3? Will this be your next Android phone?

Update: The Samsung Galaxy S 3 will be available in the US in June.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

HTC One S Coming Soon to T-Mobile

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

http://www.tmonews.com/2012/04/htc-...99-full-retail/

"This new-ish page for the HTC One S has a terrific list of all the features available on the One S, still expected to hit store shelves a week from today on April 25th."

This may actually be my favorite phone from the One series. While it "only" has a 4.3 qHD screen (540x960) it still has the same high quality camera, 1GB of RAM, 1080p 60fps video recording, Beats Audio, and Snapdragon S4 processor as the One X. On top of that not everyone wants a huge phone with a 4.7" screen and the One S seems to get better battery life than the One X, possibly due to the One X having a larger and higher resolution display. Both the phones come with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). The HTC One S should be available from T-Mobile for just under $600 on April 25th. Hopefully there will be a subsidized price option as well. Make sure you check the T-Mobile site for more information. My favorite feature of the One series is probably the Snapdragon S4 processor. It's the first 28 nm processor available in a smartphone and offers a "next generation" of speed and battery life.

Would you rather have the super-sized 4.7" 720p display or the 4.3 qHD display with better battery life?


Monday, April 9, 2012

Instagram Update Adds Better Tablet Support and App2SD

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

http://www.engadget.com/2012/04/06/...pdated-tablets/

"The latest one to hit today (1.0.3) promises expanded support for tablets and WiFi handsets, app installation on the SD card for storage-limited users and fixing an audio mute bug during capture."

I'm not sure I can think of an App, maybe Angry Birds, that had as much hype as Instagram. Those who use Instagram seem to love it and that number grew a lot last week when it was finally released for Android. With the latest version including better tablet support and support for App2SD I'm sure the number of users will grow even more.

It's great to see a developer not just putting their product out there but responding so quickly to what people want and quickly releasing updates that address the issues.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Google Maps Celebrates 50 Billion KM with a New Look

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

http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/20...le+Mobile+Blog)

"So far, Navigation on Google Maps for Android has provided 50 billion kilometers of turn-by-turn directions...In today’s release of Google Maps 6.5 for Android we’ve redesigned the Navigation home screen in Android 4.0+ to make it easier to enter a new destination or select from recent and favorite locations by swiping left or right."

The latest version of Google Maps makes some interface changes and can now take advantage of all the qHD (540x960) and HD (720x1280) displays out there on new high end phones. They specifically mention Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S II (which should not be in the list since it has a very unimpressive resolution of 480x800), and Droid Razr. I guess the interface changes only apply to devices with Ice Cream Sandwich but the high resolution support works on Gingerbread too. I'm actually surprised they had to do anything special to take advantage of high resolution displays since they switched to using vector based rendering a number of versions ago - at least I thought. Anyway, I'm glad they did the right thing now!

Anyone out there with a Galaxy Nexus have any comment on the interface changes? Did anyone with a qHD or HD device try out the maps with the new version and care to comment on any improvement?


Monday, March 26, 2012

PocketESN Checks To Make Sure Your Used Phone Was Not Stolen

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

http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39...ocketesn-first/

"Buying used Android phones can save you a bunch of money, but there are a few things you should check out before forking over your hard-earned cash."

PocketESN is an app that will let you check to make sure a phone was not stolen or anything like that. For free it will check the status of the phone it's installed on. The paid version, for $5.99, will let you check the status of as many phones as you want. It requires an internet connection to work but it can be over WiFi so you can do this before activating the phone and having the police come after you for buying a stolen one. PocketESN should work with any CDMA Android phone.

I don't usually recommend buying used phones since these days you can usually get a good new phone for free or nearly so under contract. Also, with a new phone you get a new battery and that alone is sometimes worth what you pay over a used phone. Still, there are definitely deals out there if you're willing to buy used.


Monday, March 5, 2012

End of Life for the HTC Amaze 4G

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 11:00 AM

http://www.tmonews.com/2012/03/whit...htc-one-launch/

"Obvious news is obvious as the HTC Amaze 4G white has been officially discontinued for the better part of two weeks now as smart money would bet that T-Mobile is already making inventory space for the HTC One S."

No huge surprise but HTC has discontinued the white Amaze 4G. It seems like they're clearing out inventory to make room for the new HTC One series which is due in the next few months. I think the HTC Amaze 4G was one of the first non-Apple smartphones to have a back side illuminated CMOS sensor which helps image quality a lot in poor lighting.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Press Release: HTC Announces the New HTC One Series

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 12:00 PM

"Today at Mobile World Congress, HTC announced the new HTC One series, which represent the most premium mobile experience with a new level of iconic design and a new amazing camera and authentic sound experience."

HTC has announced three new phones that are part of their new, high-end, One series of devices. The HTC One X (Picture above) has a 4.7", HD (720p, 720x1280), SuperLCD, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and either a dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 or a quad-core Tegra 3. The HTC One S is the thin model at 7.9mm. It has a dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 and a 4.3", qHD (540x960), AMOLED display. The HTC One V is the low-end of these high end devices apparently. HTC calls it "pocket friendly" and says it's designed to "provide a high-end smartphone experience for a broad appeal" so I guess that means really good low end. We don't really have technical details but I'm going to guess the screen is WVGA (480x800) with maybe a 4" diagonal. The HTC One X and S both have new and improved camera technology as well as Beats audio. I didn't care about Beats a few weeks ago but a friend got a pair of Beats headphones and I was truly amazed! I'd love to see other companies start paying more attention to the camera and the audio on the devices they release. I'm glad to see HTC upping the bar in those areas!

These are some nice devices but I still think HTC needs to work on their battery life. Motorola has started going huge with the RAZR Maxx at 3300mAH and the Atrix 3 announced with a 3300mAH battery as well. I think this should be standard for anything that's dual-core (or more) these days and supports LTE. That may not be needed once we hit third quarter and they start shrinking the die sizes of the processors but for now, I think the 1800mAH battery on the HTC One X is inadequate. I don't know the battery capacity of the S or the V but I'll bet they're smaller.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on these new devices or battery life on high-end devices. How about Rezound (1720p, dual-core, LTE, 1620mAH) owners, how's the battery life in actual daily use for you? Maybe HTC has some new tricks to make their batteries last longer on their more recent phones. Press Releases after the break!

Update: I just noticed this morning that the Snapdragon S4 processors use the 28nm die size! That's very noteworthy because it means they should get better battery life than the any other CPU out there right now. I'm still not sure these devices could compete with a phone that has a 3300mAH battery but that 1800mAH may be plenty to keep you away from a power outlet all day. I think the S4's also have enhanced Adreno GPU's. The 220 was awesome and so anything newer could be pretty amazing and may even be faster than the Tegra 3 GPU - not sure but research it if you're interested.

Read more...


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Google Flight Search is Now Smartphone Optimized

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Software" @ 12:00 PM

http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/22/...or-android-ios/

"All the key flight-finding features of the desktop version are present: search, discover by location, filter by price, airline and calendar view, and have been optimized for the small screen."

While it isn't a native app it looks like Google did a great job of bringing their web based Flight Search to the smartphone. It's very fast and easy to use, that's for sure. In about four taps I was ready to book a round trip flight. I don't fly often but next time I do I'll definitely give this a try. Just go to www.google.com/flights with your smartphone web browser to try it.

What's your favorite flight planning app? Would you consider using Google Flight Search instead or what features does Flight Search lack?


Monday, February 6, 2012

Google Talks About Android App Security

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Talk" @ 11:30 AM

http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/20...d-security.html

"The last year has been a phenomenal one for the Android ecosystem. Device activations grew 250% year-on-year, and the total number of app downloads from Android Market topped 11 billion. As the platform continues to grow, we’re focused on bringing you the best new features and innovations - including in security."

I've never had a problem with a bad app doing serious damage. The worst problem I had was an app that was giving me advertisements as notifications. It wasn't hard to find the app and after I removed it the notifications stopped. This blog post explains some of the safeguards that are in place to protect your Android phone. One thing they highlight is the "Bouncer" service that Google developed to scan the Android Market and look for bad apps. It's good to know that however bad this problem is on Android Google is taking it seriously.

Have you ever had a problem on your Android device caused by a virus or malware?


Monday, January 30, 2012

HTC UK Planning Less New Phones for 2012

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 12:00 PM

http://www.mobiletoday.co.uk/News/1...arket_hero.aspx

"HTC UK chief Phil Roberson (pictured) told Mobile the manufacturer will return to a strategy of launching a limited number of high-spec devices this year, with a focus on second quarter releases."

Releasing less phones sounds like a smart move to me. They also said they're not going to focus on tablets. I'm guessing that HTC US will do the same thing.

I think HTC and Motorola are both guilty of releasing far too many phones. The result is OEMs and carriers can't provide the level of support (bug fixes, OS updates, etc.) they should for any of their phones. Hopefully in 2012 we'll see fewer, but more polished, phones from all manufacturers!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Flygrip Will Ease Your One Handed Fears

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad" @ 03:00 AM

http://www.ubergizmo.com/2012/01/fl...e-handed-usage/

"So you're walking with your iPhone in one hand, and a Starbucks latte in the other, and granted it is possible to use the iPhone in one hand, it could prove to be "fatal" since one hand tends to offer less support compared to two, and we all know that heart wrenching feeling when your brand new gadget slips out of your hand and onto the hard pavement."

Basically very simple, as all this does is attach to the iPhone case or the iPhone itself and you slide your fingers in and can start using your iPhone one handed without fear of dropping it. I can also be attached to the back of your iPad, or any other tablet for that matter. As you can see from the photos, it doesn't have to be an Apple product to work. Three sizes (small, medium and large) depending on the finger size and you can get them for $29.95 USD each from the Flygrip store located here. That seems a bit spendy to me, and I think I would rather just spend that on a better case. What are your thoughts?


Friday, December 23, 2011

SmartPhoneGurus Review the HTC Sensation XL

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Talk" @ 11:00 AM

http://www.smartphonegurus.com/foru...ensation-xl-o2/

"The XL builds on the prior Sensation incarnations, the original machine and the Beats audio enhanced XE. With this new variant HTC have changed both the internals and externals of the machines design and in effect it is a new machine in its own right and not a part of the original Sensation family."

This is a very detailed review that covers the hardware as well as many details about the software. For me, I think making a phone these days with a 4.7" diagonal and only 480x800 resolution (only 198dpi) should be a crime. Not only is the resolution low for the size but the aspect ratio is not as good as 16:9 for holding in your hand. In other words, the Galaxy Nexus has about the same size screen but it will not be so wide in your hand due to the aspect ratio difference. Of course the Galaxy Nexus has a 720x1280 resolution too. Anyway, the Sensation XL does have a fast single core 1.5GHz processor and 768MB of RAM as well as 16GB of built in storage. Take a look at the review for more details and lots of pictures.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Google Announces Scribbles for Gmail on Mobile Devices

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Software" @ 06:00 AM

http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2011/...e-creative.html

"Now you can quickly convey that eureka moment to a colleague, or simply brighten a loved one's day with a personal scribble in Gmail for the mobile web browser and the Gmail app for iOS. In the compose view, click on the scribble button to open up the drawing window."

This is for phones and tablets. It works from in your mobile browser. What a great idea! Sometimes it's just easier to draw a quick doodle for someone rather than explain it with words. Now you can do that right from within Gmail! Give it a try and let us know what you think!


Friday, December 16, 2011

LifeHacker Updated Their Android Rooting Guide

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 11:30 AM

http://lifehacker.com/5868228/weve-...rooting-methods

"There are a ton of Android phones out there, many of which have their own special rooting methods or notes, and since updates are pushed out on an individual basis, we can't possibly keep up with it all. We recently combed through the guide and fixed everything we could find that was out of date, much of which due to lots of new phones getting Gingerbread."

Just in time for that new Android device you find under your Christmas tree LifeHacker has updated their Android Rooting Guide. They fixed the rooting directions for some older devices with new methods or notes where needed and they added new devices as well. If you want to root this is a great resource to use!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Amazon Black Friday Deal: Any Smartphone for a Penny!

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

http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Amazon-...news-13274.html

"Though brick-and-mortar stores might wait until after Thanksgiving to bring discounts into effect, online retailers are kicking things off earlier with sales and special deals going on all week. Amazon is among them with its latest deal that will see all of its Sprint, Verizon and AT&T smartphones reduced to just a penny."

It's no joke people! Sure, you need a new contract but 0.01 is all you pay for any Android (maybe other) Smartphone! I checked and it not only has old faithfuls like the Droid Incredible 2, Atrix, and Nexus S 4G but it includes brand new high-end models like the HTC Rezound and Droid Razr! If you're in the market for a new Android Phone you need to check this out now! The deal is good through CyberMonday - November 28.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Androinica Reviews the Moto Droid Razr

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 11:30 AM

http://androinica.com/2011/11/motor...id-razr-review/

"With the Droid Razr, Motorola attempts to marry the game-changing attributes of its two most important brands of the modern smartphone era. The phone is once again sleek and sharp like the latter half of its name would imply, but bold and limit-pushing like the former. So how successful is Motorola at merging form and function in its latest phone?"

If you're not familiar with the Droid Razr it's a very thin Android phone that packs a powerful 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM along with 16GB of storage and it comes with an additional 16GB card. It also has a 540x960 4.3" display. This review covers a little bit of everything about it. One thing that's noteworthy is apparently the Droid Razr has better battery life than any other LTE Android phone. The reviewer also said the call quality was "really good", better than he is used to, and he doesn't mind the UI that Moto put on this thing adding that it has some nice features - much improved from the old Blur that so many people hated. On the downside he didn't love the Super AMOLED Advanced qHD display.

Read the full review for all the details. Will the Droid Razr be your next phone?


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