Posts by Evan Blass

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    There's no arguing Microsoft's success in the PC industry: its primary platform is so deeply embedded in personal computing that it's been able to leverage some arguably monopolistic powers with regards to bundled applications. And just as Windows rules the desktop, Windows Mobile once ruled the smartphone, giving Redmond an enviable position -- for a time -- in the world of operating systems. Yet now Microsoft finds itself in a rather unenviable position on numerous fronts, with yesterday's Surface launch representing yet another vertical wherein the company finds itself one of the ...

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    You may remember that during the lead up to this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, one of the devices we were expecting from HTC was a quad-core tablet codenamed Quattro. HTC had, by most accounts, a very successful show, introducing the now-popular One series of phones. But Quattro -- which eventually became Vertex -- was nowhere to be found. It doesn't seem like there are any new tablets on the horizon from the Taiwanese manufacturer, either. Is HTC done with this product category? Are the Flyer and Jetstream the only two Android tabs that will ever see the light of day? ...

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    No, I don't actually need help deciding. But anyone who's into smartphones -- that means you, dear reader -- knows the question quite well: as the "phone guy/girl" among friends/relatives/coworkers, you're frequently asked for advice on which handset to choose. And more times than not these days, people are looking to decide between the Apple iPhone and [name of Android handset]. Less than years ago, the choice was easy: the iPhone was the best phone on the market, hands down. It had the most beautiful form factor, highest quality materials, greatest pixel density, and a polished UI and ...

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    One of the first items of note during the mobile portion of yesterday's WWDC keynote was the upgraded performance users can expect from Siri. Performance probably isn't the right word -- Siri was just programmed how to answer a broader ranger of questions, but will still perform the same as the day you brought her home. Which begs the question: does Siri do a good enough job to be considered a value add? The people I know who have turned off the function altogether would probably put it in the gimmick column. The biggest problem with voice-control, and one that may never be fully solved, ...

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    At today's World Wide Developers' Conference in San Francisco, Apple made it a point to take a very serious swipe at Android's ability to keep devices current in terms of their firmware. In an accompanying chart, iOS's installed base was shown to have been upgraded to version 5.0 or higher to the tune of 75% or more. Ice Cream Sandwich, on the other hand, was claimed to power just 7% of the Android installed base -- working devices in consumers' hands. It sounds like a pretty big disparity, but is the comparison even apt in the first place? On the one hand, Apple has achieved something ...

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    Nearly everyone with a smartphone has experienced the same problem: you're working on something in landscape mode such as typing a text or watching a video, and you need to return to the home screen to select another app, which you'll also be using in landscape. Yet frustratingly, the screen is sideways, oriented in a portrait configuration no matter how many little shakes you perform to wake up the accelerometer. Non-rotating home screens were a problem back in the earliest days of smartphones, and while these devices have made amazing technological advances, they remain a problem even ...

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    When it first launched in 2010, the original Samsung Galaxy S had a lot to prove: it was just one phone among many Android contenders at the time, but it had the performance, style, and marketing muscle to make it a winner. Two generations later, and the Galaxy S III is expected to be the hottest selling Google phone in the world, making it the best contender yet for toppling the iPhone from its reign. And as Galaxy S sales inch ever closer to the undisputed king of smartphones, it's clear that Samsung is looking to its rival for tips on various methods for market success -- which is why ...

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    It's hard to believe that just six years ago, Microsoft completely dominated the mobile space. Two of the top three smartphones in 2006 were powered by Windows Mobile, and it was the must-have platform for power users and enterprise users alike. Yet by 2010, Redmond had totally lost its grip on the portable computing industry, with iPhones and Android-powered devices having emerged to pummel its market share. How did a company so successful at maintaining a near-monopoly on the desktop fall from grace in smartphones? For a (relatively) long time, there were only three players of note in ...

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    Android is often lauded as the most open of the platforms, and probably with good reason: it allows for the most homescreen customization, the most desktop-like browser and email experiences, and the easiest method of sideloading applications. But there are still some areas in which Android is fairly restrictive in giving users the ability to freely utilize all the functionality of the device that they purchased. A prime example of this heavy hand is the built-in Gmail client's refusal to handle compressed files in Ice Cream Sandwich, telling you only that their potential to contain ...

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    We've gotten a bit of information on some upcoming Motorola devices, including a pair of LTE-capable, Ice Cream Sandwich-powered handsets for Verizon and AT&T. First is the Motorola Vanquish, which will be sold worldwide, and which has already been spotted in some EXIF data going by the name Droid RAZR HD for Verizon. As its name suggests, this will be the first high definition model in the Droid range, sporting a 1280 x 720 pixel display. Vanquish is coming to Verizon under model number XT926, to China as XT922 and XT980, and globally as the XT923 (UMTS) and XT925 (LTE). Next is the ...

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    It was only a matter of time before smartphone screens increased in pixel count to match the 1080p Full HD diplays most people have in their living rooms, so LG's announcement of a five-inch IPS LCD with 1080 lines of vertical resolution should really come as no surprise. On the other hand, Apple told us at the time of the iPhone 4's Retina Display unveiling that its 326ppi pixel density (960 x 640 on a 3.5-inch screen) was already high enough to make individual pixels indistinguishable, so why do we need the 440ppi offered by this new LG panel? Display technology over the course of ...

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    Sony Mobile has apparently finalized its list of Android handsets due to receive an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich, and unfortunately for Xperia PLAY owners, their phones will not see an official upgrade path. The reason? Testing revealed that PLAY couldn't deliver a competent gaming experience when running an ICS build. There are definitely grounds to take issue with this explanation, with the most obvious being: why is another PlayStation Certified handset with nearly identical specs, the arc, still apparently upgrade-ready, while the PLAY is not? Either arc owners have a lousy gaming ...

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    Without fail, every time a mobile operating system is upgraded, a generation or more of devices is left out of the cycle -- leaving many owners frustrated that their perfectly-functioning gadget has already been deemed obsolete. On the other hand, it would cost manufacturers a plethora of resources to tailor and test new software for each and every product they have ever made, and at some point you're trying to shoehorn software onto hardware that just isn't powerful enough to run it smoothly. So the question naturally arises: what are the criteria which determine a fair period of ...

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    It's not easy to admit that you're wrong. Back in 2010 I opined that "your smartphone can't get much better," wherein I argued that handset technology had peaked in many respects, with the newest improvements being mostly incremental in nature. Well I was incorrect: phones have gotten a lot better in that time period, and there's clearly room for improvement still. The biggest reason, I realized, is that there will always be software which pushes the limits of the hardware, along with pretty fierce competition among more than half-a-dozen OEMs. Take processors, for instance. Two years ago ...

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    With the highly-anticipated Samsung Galaxy S III practically confirmed for all four major US carriers, we thought it would be fun to gather up test shots from their respective eight-megapixel cameras. Don't expect anything you can print out and frame, though: the pickings here were decidedly slim, with most of the variants only offering up a handful of examples -- none of which apparently took into account the subject nor quality of the image. Still, as with the first iPhone 4S test photo, there's something fun about checking out images from unreleased devices that will soon sweep the ...

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    It's been well established that the iPhone is the most popular, most desired smartphone in the world. And with good reason -- it is an excellent product that seamlessly merges top-notch hardware with polished software to deliver a user experience guaranteed to make even its premium price seem like a bargain. But can Apple continue to maintain this kind of dominance forever? One need only look at blockbusters of the past to see a mobile landscape riddled with RAZRs and N95s and to realize that manufacturers are almost never able to maintain their devices' cachet ad infinitum. Right now the ...

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    Having already sold both previous Galaxy S handsets from Samsung (as the QWERTY-equipped Epic 4G and keyboard-less Epic 4G Touch), it's no surprise that Sprint will also be stocking the third iteration of this popular device, the Galaxy S III. Thanks to the device's user agent profile, we've been able to gather a few of the important details on the next Galaxy to hit the Now Network. As you'd expect, most of the specs on the LTE-capable SPH-L710 are identical to those on the global version (GT-I9300), with one significant exception: like the Galaxy S III destined for Verizon, Sprint's ...

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    Samsung's Galaxy Nexus was one of the first handsets capable of surfing Sprint's upcoming LTE network, but as a flagship device, it's priced out of the budget of many smartphone customers. Now, thanks to a user agent profile, we've learned some details on what should be a more modestly-priced, LTE-capable phone for Sprint: the Samsung SPH-L300. With a model number significantly lower than the Galaxy Nexus' SPH-L700, we'd expect the Ice Cream Sandwich-powered (4.0.4) L300 to be more of an entry-level or mid-range device, and the specs seem to bear that out -- for the most part. While its ...

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    Everybody loves a bargain, right? Especially when it comes to smartphones, it doesn't get much better than inexpensive handsets -- or does it? From the consumer's perspective, low-priced hardware can be seen two ways: either it represents a good deal or, sometimes, simply a cheap and low-quality product. Certain brands go out of their way to avoid the appearance of being cheap and mass market, even if it means lower sales on higher margins: think Nokia sub-brand Vertu. Other companies, however, embrace the low-cost model, hoping to make their money on volume -- although perhaps at the ...

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    Never ones to rest on our laurels (Samsung's laurels, really), we've already started thinking ahead to next year and what the Galaxy S IV will bring -- before the launch presentation for the S III is even over. After all, we realized that there are engineers who are designing that device at this very moment, trying to one-up themselves on a phone which itself is inching closer to perfection. So what will the next, next Galaxy look like? We've got a few ideas. To start off with, we doubt that its processor will add any more cores; instead, we have a feeling that Samsung will simply clock ...

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    Now that we're just hours away from the launch of arguably the most anticipated handset this side of the iPhone 5, we wanted to gather together what we know / think we know about the device in anticipation of its unveiling. Samsung has a lot riding on the Galaxy S3 (S III?), and not only because it's the successor to the very well-received Galaxy S II; now that it is officially the top cellphone manufacturer in the world, it needs a flagship device that cements its position there -- a phone that bests even the beautifully-crafted HTC One series. Fortunately, many of the S3's specs are ...

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    A newly-published user agent profile for what is likely to be Verizon's version of the Samsung Galaxy S3 shows the device being powered by a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor -- and not Samsung's own quad-core Exynos CPU, which the company recently revealed to be present in the global version of the phone. Although there is no definitive proof that the handset going by model number SCH-I535 is in fact the VZW SGS3, its specs as well as its naming convention are highly suggestive: running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with a resolution of 1280 x 720, the device's SCH-I5XX ...

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    Last year Motorola introduced its first flagship Android device for Sprint, the Motorola Photon 4G. It was a dual-core, qHD handset with similar specs to the Atrix 4G and latest Droid-branded phones. Well now we've gotten wind of a sequel to that device, which will supposedly come to market as the Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE. Besides being quite a mouthful of a name for consumers to remember, it sounds like it will be yet another high-end offering from the Now Network: very likely Moto's first LTE handset for the latest 4G network to go live. Full specs -- or even partial specs -- aren't yet ...

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    We recently learned that Virgin Mobile would soon be offering the HTC EVO 3D (as the HTC EVO V 4G), and now a reliable source has revealed that sister brand Boost Mobile will begin carrying yet another Sprint handset, the HTC EVO Design 4G. This pair of smartphones will be the most premium devices ever offered by the two prepaid carriers, which have only recently begun to sell Android smartphones -- and have only very recently started stocking mid- to high-end phones like the LG Marquee (Boost) and Motorola Triumph (Virgin). Virgin has also been tipped to add the HTC One V to its lineup. ...

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    Verizon Wireless is reportedly set to offer an enhanced package of pre- and post-sale services known as Verizon ON, and among the concept imagery for this initiative, we spotted an unfamiliar Motorola handset not currently offered by the carrier. While the phone (far right) seems to have the same cropped corners as the popular DROID RAZR series, its top and bottom screen bezels appear to be much narrower than those on existing RAZRs. What's more, the manufacturer branding is not centered at the top of the face, but rather left-justified with respect to the display. Speaking of branding, ...

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