Posts by Joe Levi

Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.

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    After being first seen on Google's Android One devices in emerging markets, Android 5.1 Lollipop is finally starting to land on Google's Nexus Devices. I spent the better part of the day yesterday downloading and attempting to install the update, and have about one day of actual use under my belt so far. Your Nexus 6 Android 5.1 update should be arriving any time. Let's jump right into how I got it on my device, and what's new, changed, updated, and what is still missing in the latest version of Lollipop! My upgrade process To begin with, I was running Android 5.0.1, rooted, with a ...

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    If you haven't used a smartwatch yet you're really missing out! These wearables are in no way supposed to replace your smartphone or tablet. Rather, wearables - smartwatches in particular - are designed to work with your smartphone so you can keep it in your pocket (or on the table or nightstand) rather than pulling it out to check whatever that last "ding", "bloop", or "bleep" was. In that respect, smartwatches are fulfilling their purpose very, very well. Pebble In the beginning there was Pebble, and it was good. It didn't try to take over your mobile experience - it simply augmented it. ...

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    Unlike Apple's iPhone or Nokia's Lumia series, phones from Motorola have been a mixed bag when it comes to camera performance. Depending on whether the smartphone in question is a high-end flagship or a low-end entry-level handset, the quality of pictures taken can vary widely. The camera in question today is that which is nestled snugly into the 2015 version of the Moto E. Just how good is the 2015 Moto E Camera? The Past Before we answer that question let's look at last year's Moto E as a point of reference. The 2014 Moto E included a 5MP fixed-focus camera with a resolution of 2592 х ...

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    It's the battle of the flagships - which translates to a battle for your pocket, not to mention your hard-earned money! At MWC 2015 Pocketnow was able to go hands-on with both the HTC One M9 as well as Samsung's Galaxy S6 - both the crown jewel of their respective companies. The question on everyone's mind: which flagship should you get, the HTC One M9 or Samsung Galaxy S6? Let's look at the pros and cons, weigh our options, and see if we can come up with a suitable answer. Construction This year, Samsung stepped up its game, getting rid of the "plastic band-aid" on the back of its phone, ...

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    Back in my early days of "smartphonery", I went with Android and my brother went with BlackBerry - the one with the rollerball. You know which one I'm talking about. Today, the rollerball is gone and the latest and greatest is the BlackBerry Passport. "Hey Joe, you haven't used a BlackBerry in a long time, let's see how you like this new BlackBerry Passport!" That's how the conversation began. I didn't like BlackBerry very much back then, so I came into this "adventure" more than a little biased. (You've been warned.) Days later a packaged arrived in the Pocketnow Utah office. I opened the ...

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    Motorola just sent out what it's calling a "press conference in a box", containing some press credentials and the brand new 2015 Moto E. To refresh your memory, the Moto E is an affordable, unlocked handset aimed at closing the technology gap. Interestingly, Motorola doesn't seem to be cutting many corners to get at its $149 price tag - in fact, the new Moto E comes with a spec bump that we're sure you're going to love! First up, Motorola included LTE this time around, whereas it had previously only included HSPA+. If you want to save some money we're hearing that there will be another ...

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    Do you remember the last time you looked at a phone display and picked up what turned out to be a display unit? Rather than the actual device, merchants often put out fake phones which - from a distance - look real. These often use the same chassis, but contain no components on the inside, so they're super light, and their screens are a glossy picture rather than an actual display. That was our first impression of the BLU Vivo Air, luckily that impression was quickly replaced with respect. The Vivo Air is thin, it's light, and it looks a lot like an iPhone 6. Beyond first impressions, ...

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    Have you ever wondered which is the more "stable" mobile OS, Android or iOS? This sort of question usually starts flame wars, brings out fanboys on both sides of the isle, and ultimately comes down to a matter of perception and opinion. What if there were some hard data to "prove", once and for all, which was more stable? Thanks to a report from Crittercism, we've got just that - but what the data shows isn't what the headlines make it out to be. Let's dig into the claim and see if Android is more stable than iOS. The Report First and foremost, the headlines are absolutely correct - and ...

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    Samsung is leading the pack of smartphones powered by Android. Arguably the primary competition for Apple, Samsung has made some great hardware over the years. This time around we've been teased with “great vision” and “a unique view” coming in "The Next Galaxy". What does that mean, and what can we expect from the Samsung Galaxy S6? Let’s gather all our intel and see what we can come up with! Construction Not long ago we saw what was reported to be a fairly detailed schematic of the Galaxy S6's dimensions. If that document holds true we could see a phone that's 7.19mm thick, ...

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    I've said it before and I'll say it again, HTC makes some dang good hardware - going back all the way to when the company manufactured PDAs running Windows Mobile. These days, HTC is going it on its own, responsible for the design, construction, marketing, deployment, and support of a wide and varied allotment of handsets powered by both Android and Windows Phone. The flagship leading the charge is the HTC One - currently the One (M8). HTC generally announces its next-generation flagship at MWC. With MWC 2015 just around the corner, we all suspect that the One M9 will be announced at the ...

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    By now it should be pretty clear that we're all carrying around full-featured computers in our pockets. Just like the desktop and laptop computers that we've used for years, our mobile devices have the same features and functionality as their full-sized counterparts - sometimes even more: microphones, cameras, broadband Internet connections, and more. One of the main areas of concern is that our smartphones and tablets are "always on" and "always connected" to the Internet. Combined, these present many threats that most users  may not even realize. Not to worry! Here are a few android ...

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    Do you remember the last time you looked at the cell phone display in your local electronics store? How you wandered over and picked up what turned out to be a display unit? Rather than showing the actual device, merchants often put out fake phones which - from a distance - look real. These display models often use the same chassis as their "legitimate" counterparts, but contain no components on the inside, so they're super light, and their screens are nothing but a glossy picture instead of an actual display. That was our first impression of the BLU Vivo Air. Vivo Air Pros The iPhone 6 ...

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    Google's Nexus program is an interesting beast. Some of us originally felt that it was about providing a reference platform against which other OEMs could aspire. Others felt it was a way for Google to provide a reasonably spec'd smartphone or tablet at a reasonable price - in an effort to drive the price of Android-powered devices down. Still more felt it was a way for Google to show off "pure Android" in an ever growing sea of "skins". Alas, the Nexus 6 seems to discount most of those theories. Google's Nexus 6 is the company's first phablet - and it's price is right in line with what ...

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    In war there are a few proven strategies, one of the more famous is "divide and conquer". The theory goes that by separating the forces of your foes you can more efficiently deal with each group on its own, slowly whittling away at your opposition. Though not nearly as tragic as war in the traditional sense, when it comes to smartphones, tablets, and mobile technology, there is most certainly a war being waged. Instead of fighting for Rights, Liberty, or to acquire land, this spoils of this war are you and I... our personal information, our pocketbooks, and ultimately, our Allegiance. The ...

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    About four years ago (has it really been that long?!), Google teamed up with some partners (Toshiba being the most notable among them) to deliver a set-top box to consumers, powered by Android - sort of. The specs didn't look that great and seeing the product in action didn't instill much confidence, but the concept... the concept was amazing! The same Google that housed all the videos on YouTube, brought paid movies and TV through its Play Movies library, and enabled services like Netflix and Hulu to run on our smartphones and tablets was tucked inside a box that plugged into our big ...

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    Over the last week or so we've seen leaked HTC One M9 pics and a rash of descriptions of the what the hardware in HTC's yet-to-be-released flagship is likely to be. To recap, nothing is official, the leaks may be fabrications or may be deliberate and from HTC itself, or they may be completely vapor. We probably won't know any specifics until the product is actually released. However, in the interim, is there anything we can glean from all the HTC One M9 rumors? Sound HTC is famous for front-facing BoomSound speakers. If you've never heard these, they're absolutely amazing. Front-facing ...

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    Microsoft Surface Hub promises to be a "powerful team collaboration device designed to advance the way people work together naturally" and to "unlock the power of the group". From what we've seen, Microsoft Surface Hub looks a whole lot like the failed Microsoft Surface "table computer" that we say several years ago. (No, you read that correctly, "table computer", not "tablet computer".) The original Microsoft Surface was essentially a relatively high-powered computer built in to a table. The tabletop was the monitor, and several cameras watched the underside of the screen to look for ...

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    I like a flagship phones just as much as the next guy, but you know what I like even more? Not having to fork over a fistfull of cash! Who's with me? Yeah, I thought so. Nonetheless, I still picked up a Nexus 6 just as soon as Google would take my money. I love my Nexus 6, but other than a bigger screen and a battery that charges fast, it's not much different than my Nexus 5, and my Nexus 5 cost a few hundred bucks less! Score one for the Nexus 5, right? WRONG! Even the Nexus 5, with it's very decent specs, is still way overpriced! That's not what we thought back when it was first ...

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    Microsoft sure does like to change the way things are named! Windows CE gave way to Handheld PC and Palm PC, then to Palm-Sized PC, then Pocket PC was replaced by Windows Mobile Standard, Professional, and Classic. Windows Phone came along when Microsoft rebooted the platform in the wake of competition from Apple and Android. Windows Phone 7 was followed by Windows Phone 7.5, then 8.0, and most recently 8.1. Did I miss any? Are you confused yet? Then again, one could argue whether or not Microsoft's naming has been more or less confusing than Android's "sweet tooth" classification (it ...

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    Flagships, mid-tier, and entry-level phones. Each have their own demographic target. Each carefully balances pros versus cons, and power versus price. Flagships generally cost between US$400 and $600 for smartphones, and a couple hundred more for phablets. Mid-tier phones typically run about half that, though things start to get muddy when you try and calculate the cost of a mid-tier or entry-level device without a carrier subsidy. What you rarely see is a phone with really good specs and a really low price tag. Then again, the ASUS ZenFone 2 seems like it might be such a device. We got ...

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    Samsung, despite being something of a copy-cat, makes great hardware. It's smartphones, especially those in the Galaxy S family, are fabulous pieces of hardware. Phablets like the Note, and the Note Edge cater to those of us who want larger devices, but don't want to pack around a tablet (or a tablet and a smartphone, too). That said, there are a growing number of situations and circumstances where a tablet is simply the right tool for the job. Thanks to what we've seen from Microsoft in Windows 10, Samsung tablets will soon have some real competition. Where we came from Not that long ago, ...

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    We've covered Google's Project Ara in the past. To recap, it's an experiment Google is undertaking wherein our smartphones (and perhaps someday our tablets, too) are built the same way many of our desktop computers are, with modular components. Currently, Google is promoting a skeletal framework and set of protocols and standards into which individual components can quickly and easily slide into place. Want more RAM? Buy a new RAM module to replace your old one one. Want a better camera? Buy a new camera module. It sounds really interesting and, other than the horrible hodgepodge ...

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    We saw a lot of really cool innovations from Microsoft today. There's so much to be excited about in the coming months. New hardware will be released that will run Windows 10, new phones will be announced. Cortana (Microsoft's answer to Siri and "OK Google") will land on the desktop and help give you the information that you want right when you want it - without even having to take your hands off the keyboard. What you might have missed, however, was Microsoft Photos. Photos? Really? After all we saw today, why am I focusing on the Photos app?! Technology is great. It enables us to do so ...

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    I ordered my 32GB Midnight Blue Nexus 6 from the Play Store on November 5th, 2014. Two weeks later it was on its way to the Pocketnow Boston office so Michael Fisher could give it the full review treatment. After patiently waiting, my Nexus 6 finally arrived here, in Utah, about a month ago, my first impression wasn't positive: "holy crap, this thing is huge!" I went to work setting it up (an easy task thanks to Lollipop's new "getting started" process), and have used it as my daily driver exclusively since that day. The life of a tech journalist marches ever onward and I have other phones ...

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    On the surface, the Samsung Z1 isn't a very compelling phone for most of us. It's only got ¾ GB RAM (768 MB), a dual-core 1.2 GHz Processor, and a 1500 mAh battery.  I doesn't stop there, either. With 4GB storage, and a 4-inch screen with a resolution of 480 x 800, you're not going to see the Z1 competing with anything even approaching a "flagship". That's okay for it's target: emerging markets. After all, it runs the lightweight Tizen OS - not Android. What if it did run Android? What if the Samsung Z1 were an Android One phone? Android One Android One is a relatively new program ...

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