By now we have a firm understanding of what the three top smartphone platform purveyors will bring to the table for late 2012 and into 2013. Each new operating system, whether Windows Phone 8, Android 4.1, or iOS 6, brings forth new features and functionality that aims to improve the end-user experience. Ultimately, while the companies behind each of these platforms do indeed (very much) care about deriving revenue and carving out market share, it is the end-user that decides whether a platform succeeds or fails. So then, with three major updates to three major operating systems, which [...]
After having looked at early Jelly Bean builds of CyanogenMod on the One X, Galaxy S III, and Galaxy Note, we wanted to take a look at how Jelly Bean feels on older devices, such as the Galaxy S II. The Galaxy S II has been one of our favorite phones: it’s light, thin, and super fast. It also has great battery life and an overall great in-hand feel. Samsung plans to release Jelly Bean for the Galaxy S II at some point, but why wait? If your phone is rooted and running a custom bootloader, you can flash a preview of CyanogenMod 10 to your Galaxy S II today. As you can see in this [...]
Jelly Bean is increasingly becoming available for a wide range of Android phones. First we showed you the Galaxy S III, then the One X, and now the Galaxy Note with this early build of Android 4.1 via a preview of CyanogenMod 10. So far, we’ve found the CM10 previews to be exceptionally stable and (most importantly) fast. How about the Galaxy Note? Well, that might be the exception. While the CM10 preview works in terms of functionality, there are some performance issues that keep it from being as incredibly smooth as the other two aforementioned devices. There seems to be some [...]
At last, a preview of the Jelly Bean-based CyanogenMod 10 has been released for the HTC One X! This indeed fixes our number one problem with the One X cited in the review: lag. On the One X with stock software with Sense 4.0, we found lack around every corner, which was surprising for such a high-end phone. Jelly Bean on the One X is super duper fast, whether browsing the web, opening folders, or moving between apps. In fact, we’d say that it’s a pinch faster than the already-fast CyanogenMod 10 port to the Galaxy S III we recently showed you. That said, installing CM 10 on [...]
Google Now is an impressive part of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (and it’s available for Ice Cream Sandwich devices). It can provide you with relevant information depending on where you are, what you’re doing, and what you’ve recently searched for. On the Galaxy Nexus, Google Now is accessible from both the lock screen and from doing a sliding gesture from the on-screen Home button. If you’re running a Jelly Bean port on any hardware that doesn’t have on-screen buttons, like the Galaxy S III, this gesture doesn’t work. You can still access Google Now from [...]
It didn’t take very long for the Galaxy S III to get Jelly Bean. The CyanogenMod 10 preview release, while not intended for daily use, is very much good enough to be used all day. Not only is it good enough, but it’s super fast, in fact, we’ve found it faster than a stable release of CyanogenMod 9, which is Ice Cream Sandwich-based (and soon to reach release candidate status). In the CyanogenMod 10 preview, all the Jelly Bean goodies are there: Google Now, Project Butter (hint: web browsing is insanely fluid), improved notifications, and the upgraded launcher. Of [...]
This might be your first time on Pocketnow, or you might be among our regular readers, having kept an eye on the site for many years. Either way, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that makes this all possible: to generate 25 pieces of content per day takes a tremendous coordinated effort; to be able to pay the salary of five full-time and two part-time employees requires revenue; to be able to review the latest and greatest handsets requires solid relationships with a dozen OEMs and carriers, plus some cash for times when we must buy units. Ever wonder how it all [...]
It’s been about two weeks since I started using Jelly Bean, both on a Nexus 7 tablet and also on a Verizon Galaxy Nexus. And soon, thanks to the efforts of the development community, many of you will get an early upgrade to Jelly Bean thanks to the release of its source code on the AOSP. Your best shot of getting the new OS won’t come from manufacturers, as they have yet to firmly commit to upgrades, but it’ll come from sites like XDA, where eager developers compile builds of Jelly Bean for specific devices. Or, you can wait for more finished products, like [...]
Recently Verizon and Motorola pushed forth an OTA update to Droid RAZR and RAZR MAXX devices to bring them from Android 2.3 Gingerbread to Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich. And with it, users can enjoy a less intrusive version of Motorola’s MotoBlur interface. Android ICS fanatics will be excited to know that the browser, app drawer, and launcher (for the most part) have remained stock giving users the look and feel of unadulterated Android 4.0. That said, there is a fair amount of lag when going back to the homescreen and when browsing the web. Hopefully the Android community [...]
Google is serious about tablets. And they need to be in order to show leadership: most Android tablets that you can buy right now just aren’t compelling. They suffer from UI lag and poor hardware. Then there’s the abysmal selection of Android tablet apps. It’s not a pretty picture, and as the iPad’s market share continues to explode, drastic measures becomes neccessary.
In a move that could have vast implications on the entire tablet market, Google has partnered with Asus to release an über-affordable and plenty-powerful tablet, the Nexus 7. Like all [...]
Android really needed a Nexus tablet. With the exception of the Transformer and Transformer Prime, all Android tablets so far have been pretty bad. We can say this because we’ve used them all (more or less). Whether it’s a laggy interface, poor app selection, or bad hardware, Android tablets are still miles behind in a race that Apple is unequivocally winning.
The Nexus 7 just might change that. It’s got Jelly Bean, an operating system that attempts to (and succeeds at) make Android lag a thing of the past. It offers a thin and light form factor only possible [...]
It was less than 24 hours ago that Google announced Android Jelly Bean, and already, we’re seeing it leak onto a bevy of devices. Chief of among them is the Galaxy Nexus, which will be getting an official OTA update to Jelly Bean in July. For now, though, the OTA update has been leaked and whether you have a GSM or CDMA Galaxy Nexus, you can get it running on your phone. We loaded the leaked ROM onto a Verizon Galaxy Nexus, and in this video, we take you on a tour of how Jelly Bean feels on a phone, and not just an emulator.
First impressions? Here are some [...]
Finally, a company was bold enough to do it: kill the rear-facing camera on tablets, as the Nexus 7 only has a front-facing camera. The vast majority of tablet users don’t use their rear-facing camera. Why? Because not only do tablets take horrible photos, but it’s awkward and cumbersome to use your tablet to take a photo. A tablet is characteristically less mobile than a phone, so you’re unlikely to have your table with you when you need to snap a photo of that special moment. You also look silly when taking a photo with a tablet. Have you ever tried it? A [...]
The rumors were true. The Asus-made Nexus 7 tablet comes out of the box with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The 7″ display is 1280×800 resolution (though we’re not sure of the display type). It’s powered by a quad-core Tegra 3 CPU with 1GB of RAM. It also has a front-facing and no rear-facing camera. According to Google, it will run for 9 hours of HD video. It’s a device very much focused on content: the home screen has special content widgets (that reminds us a lot of the B&N Nook Tablet) that allows you to “pin” your favorite books, (now) [...]
By using a combination of current location, calendar status, and search history, a new feature of Android Jelly Bean, called Google Now, aims to provide you with information before you need it. For example, it’ll know you’re in a restaurant and suggest a great dish to try. Or, it’ll know that you have an upcoming flight and will keep you updated with flight status, and even tell you what time you need to leave your current location to make the flight on time plus show you the traffic info . You can access Google Now with a swipe up from the bottom of the screen, which [...]
Up until now, Android tablets have been stuck with relatively low screen resolutions. Most are 1024×768, and at best you see tablets with 1280×800 resolution. With resolutions such as these, pixels are big enough to where you can see individual pixels if you look closely. The new iPad showed us what happens when you shrink the size of each pixel (and add more of them): the results are transformative as content can look printed-on the display.
Acer is first out of the gate to launch an Android 4.0 tablet with a higher screen resolution. The Acer Iconia A700 packs [...]
We’re back with another episode of After the Buzz, where we take another look at mobile devices after the shine wears off and after we’ve had ample time to live with the device past the honeymoon period. This time, we’re assessing the new iPad, the tablet that still has the most market share (by far) in the tablet market. Questions we seek to answer include: does the Retina display markedly improve the experience? How has battery life been? Is it worth going for the LTE version? Does the extra weight and thickness negatively impact the experience? How about the app [...]
iOS has icons. Android has icons and widgets. Windows Phone has live tiles. This alone makes Microsoft right when they say that Windows Phone is different. Not only Windows Phone look different, but it functions differently. Windows Phone attempts to give its users a more glanceable UI. And one could reasonably argue that the Windows Phone glanceable UI is beautiful: it’s characterized by evenly-spaced, often symmetrical and perfectly square or rectangular boxes that contain dynamic bits of information. For a minimum level of distractions, the tiles are set against a background [...]
Shipping this fall, Windows Phone 8 brings forth a lot of new features that makes it competitive with the next-generation updates for iOS and Google. It’ll be available on new hardware only, but existing Windows Phone 7.5 users will get a smaller update (in Windows Phone 7.8) to bring forth some of the features (but not all) announced for Windows Phone 8. Here’s a breakdown of our favorites.
5. Conversations With Apps.
This seems nothing like a competition with [...]
Previously we showed you how to root the Galaxy S III. We reported that at the time, there weren’t many third-party ROMs for Samsung’s latest and greatest for those wanting to part ways with Nature UX and all of the many little software flaws that we cited in our review. That’s now changed thanks to the availability of CyanogenMod 9 nightlies for the Galaxy S III. In this video we give you a taste of what to expect. Short of a couple of bugs relating to the FM radio and camera flash, everything seems to be in working order. And what’s more, everything looks and [...]
In our review of the Galaxy S III, most of our complaints were software-related. Thankfully, one of the best aspects of Android is that if you don’t like the software, you can change it, thanks to a vibrant third-party development community. All you need to do is root the device to get super user permissions and install a custom bootloader, like ClockworkMod. Then, you’re able to install any third-party ROM with ease. In this video we show you how to go through this process. Of course, there are always multiple methods of rooting, but this particular process was quick and [...]
Apple just unveiled iOS 6, which in a lot of ways is their pre-emptive answer to the next version of all other mobile platforms due later this year, including Android (Jelly Bean?) and Windows Phone (Windows Phone 8?). It’ll be available over-the-air this fall (no exact date was given), and it’s available as a beta now for developers. Certainly, some are left disappointed that we didn’t get homescreen widgets, significant improvements to the UI, or x-ray vision in the camera app (perhaps iOS 7?), but there are definetly some cool features of iOS 6 that have us really [...]