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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    Up until recently I was very much of the opinion that HTC made beautiful phones and Samsung - to put it mildly - didn't. With the release of the Galaxy S6, that opinion is shifting. Sure, HTC still makes beautiful hardware (both aesthetically and functionally), but when we're talking about Android, Samsung is the uncontested leader, leaving all other OEMs to fight for light in its ever-expanding shadow. How can HTC escape? Copycat First we've got to admit that Samsung is a copycat. Apple is the leader in mobile design. Yes, I know, I'm "Joe the Android Guy", but even I can see that much is ...

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    Flagships are a way for OEMs to show off their latest and greatest technologies and prove,once and for all, they are king of the hill - for a little while anyway. Today HTC has the One M9 and Samsung has the Galaxy S6. Both are powerhouses in their own right, but the LG G4 could eclipse each of them. Looking at the specifications, the three top-tier phones all seem to be pretty closely matched. HTC and Samsung opt for 4 x 4 processor configurations with the LG G4 employing a six-core solution. RAM is the same across the board. LG and Samsung have screens with the same resolution, but LG ...

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    In life, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Similarly, despite the app stores being full of them, there's no such thing as a "free app", either. To explain what I mean, let's define some terms and some roles. "Free", in this sense, means "without cost or payment". Basically, if you don't have to open your wallet and fork over any hard-earned cash, it's "free" to you. However, that doesn't mean that it's "free", meaning unimpeded.  The first role is probably the one that you, dear reader, most closely align with yourself: a user. The second role likely applies to a smaller subset of ...

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    HTC makes great flagship phones, the most recent of which is the One M9... or is it? Not long after the One M9 was released, we learned of the One M9 Plus. One the surface, there aren't a lot of differences. The "Plus" has a round camera compared to the "One's" rounded square, but the Plus has a fingerprint scanning "button" (that isn't really a button at all). Inside, however, is a different story. Screen As you might have inferred from the name, the One M9+ has a larger screen. Measured diagonally it's 5.2-inches, compared to the One M9's 5.0-inch display. In other devices, increasing ...

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    Today is the big day! Apple Watch is finally available - sort of. Apple's website is open for pre-orders, but the soonest you can hope to see your shiny, new smartwatch will be four to six weeks from now. Most options will ship in June, but we're already seeing some dates in July pop up. In the meantime, Motorola's Moto 360 is now available on Amazon for as little as US$179 with Prime shipping. Sure, that doesn't mean a thing for every Apple user in the world - Android Wear isn't compatible with iOS (or the other way around, depending on your perspective). However, that could be ...

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    There's something to be said about uniformity and everything looking the same. Smartphones, tablets, and even recent computers powered by Microsoft's Windows OS all look the same. The hardware may be radically different, but the operating system is the same. If you know how to use a Windows phone made by Nokia, you know how to use a Windows phone made by HTC. Apple, on the other hand, makes its hardware and the software - no one else is allowed to. In both cases, your choices are limited - by design. Then there's Android Android runs on hardware made by dozens of OEMs. Some stick pretty ...

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    Back in my college days I was a die-hard Microsoft OneNote user. I had a folder for each course I was taking and every lecture got its own notepad, complete with tabs, pictures, and handwritten as well as typewritten notes. The advantage of OneNote, in addition to a single location for everything with the freedom of free-form text, is its universal indexability. Put another way, virtually everything in a OneNote collection is indexed and searchable - including handwriting and text inside images. OneNote was introduced when smartphones were in their infancy and we rarely considered snapping ...

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    You've read the headlines and heard the rhetoric: 97% of mobile malware is on Android, Android malware threat rears its head again, Android malware spies on you even after phone is shut down, and more. Based on those headlines, you'd think that Android is a cesspool of filth and simply having a phone powered by the OS opens you to a host of problems - problems that might be solved by switching to another platform from another company. Unfortunately, the headlines are fantastical, and the "problem" with Android malware doesn't really exist - and never has. "But Joe, Google says it just cut ...

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    It all started in Palo Alto, California back in 2003 - a little company named Android, Inc. was founded by Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears, and Chris White. The purpose of the venture was to create "smarter mobile devices that are more aware of its owner's location and preferences", and was originally aimed at digital cameras. That market proved not to be large enough, so the focus shifted to smartphones that could compete against Microsoft's and Symbian's offerings. Google acquired Android, Inc. in 2005 and speculation began to swirl that the search engine and email giant was ...

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    When Android-powered smart watches first arrived we had a mostly square product from LG and a mostly round watch from Motorola. Both had pros and cons, but ultimately it was the Moto 360 that earned its spot on my wrist. Now, the second generation of the wearable is rumored to be just around the corner. What do we want to see in the next generation? Here's our wishlist for new new Moto 360. ___________________________________________________________________________ Adam Doud Senior Editor "Reconnect Faster" The Moto 360 seems to have trouble making and keeping a connection to the phone if ...

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    I'm what most would call a "purist" when it comes to Android. The closer to AOSP a device can be, the better. Why? Several reasons, chief among them being consistency of experience and a timely updates - well, more timely than updates seem to come on devices with heavily modified versions of Android. All that having been said, a tablet running HTC Sense UI is a fantastic idea! Honeycomb Tablets running the Android operating system started to pop up around the same time that Apple released its insanely popular iPad. Android wasn't optimized for tablets back then (some would argue that it's ...

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    As we've mentioned before, Google is reportedly coming out with an MVNO service (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) under the label of "Project Nova" sometime in "the coming months". An MVNO is a virtual carrier that uses one or more cellular networks to provide service to its customers. Generally speaking, handsets have been limited to just one carrier due to radios, antenna limitations, and frequency abilities. Where things gets really interesting is with modern handsets that are capable of being used on multiple networks - even when they employ technologies that are fairly different from ...

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    It's been almost a year since we reviewed the first generation of Motorola's most budget-priced smartphone: the Moto E. The word "budget" carries with it images of dread and avoidance - though it shouldn't, especially when referring to the Moto E. Last year we said "you don't get something for nothing," and questioned whether Motorola Mobility sacrificed "too much" on the way to becoming "affordable." This year the 2015 Moto E (or "Moto E Gen 2" if you prefer) hit the ground running. Has Motorola done enough to elevate the Moto E from a "you get what you pay for" product to a loftier ...

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    When the first Android Wear smartwatch was released, the LG G Watch, I hurried and snatched it up. It was roughly square, which seemed odd for a timepiece, but I'd had rectangular watches before, so I didn't mind. I swapped out the rubber band for a metal one, and began my adventure into wearables. Motorola wasn't far behind - and its wearable was round (well, mostly round) like watches are meant to be. I was hesitant to get the Moto 360 due to some technical differences in the display, the processor Motorola decided to put in the watch, and what has become known around the industry as ...

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    By now you've heard the rumors that Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 SoC is "suffering from overheating issues". You're aware of the claims that the HTC One M9 gets "miserably hot". You've even seen what are purported to be thermal images of various devices, and the One M9 is glowing orange, ready to melt through the tabletop. But is any of it true? Tweakers.net published a very compelling image, one that (on first glance) would convince even the most vocal of naysayers. Unfortunately, it's not realistic.  The staff here at Pocketnow has used an HTC One M9 quite extensively, and on two ...

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    It seems like a fairly simple feature, and one that slipped past most people when Android 5.1 started rolling out: Device Protection. According to Google, if your phone is lost or stolen, when this feature is enabled you'll need to log in with your Google account to unlock it. That's a good thing, but in the past it was fairly easy to circumvent any type of security by factory resetting the device. Data was fairly secure, but the device could then be used (or sold) by the thief (or "finder"). Now, thanks to the Lollipop 5.1 update, on supported devices, factory resetting is protected by an ...

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    When USB was first released there were basically two types of connectors: the one that you plugged into your computer (which hasn't changed all that much over the years); and the one that you plugged into your printer, scanner, or other peripheral. The latter was somewhat square and looked kind of like a little house, and was fairly easy to plug in. The former was rectangular, and a pain the in neck to plug in correctly the first time around. As the standard evolved, that "house" connector proved to be too big to use in any small devices - especially smartphones. Mini-USB was developed. ...

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    LG makes some fantastic hardware. The Nexus 4 was a tremendous device (despite having a glass back). The G Watch was my first watch powered by Android Wear, and the first wearable worthy of handing my Pebble (Kickstarter Edition) down to my daughter. I even own a pair of Bluetooth headphones with LG's brand slathered all over them, and the Nexus 4 wireless charging "orb" is stilling on my desk as I write this article. Yes, LG truly does make some amazing products. Some of my favorites include flexible handsets and self-healing skins. Who else can even compete with those? Now that we're ...

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    Back when Google started hinting at what is now known as "Android Wear", Apple fans came out of the woodwork attacking every little thing. Back then we just had rectangular watches which caused an outcry from Apple Fans. "Watches are meant to be round", they said. "Apple would never stoop to making a 'square' watch", they said. "They" were wrong, and it's wonderful news for Google and Android Wear.Wearables powered by Android Wear are already in their second generation. If you want square, you can get square. If you want round, there's more than one choice. If you want a curved screen, ...

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    Long before smartphones became "smart", business users would carry around a phone, perhaps a pager, and a PDA - a Personal Digital Assistant. This PADD-esque device was typically powered by an OS from Palm (Palm OS), Microsoft (Windows CE), or Apple (Newton). They enabled us to carry our contacts, calendars, task-lists, eBooks, email, and select types of documents with us where ever we went. We'd later sync our PDAs with our desktop computers so the data would remain up-to-date at our desk and on the road. As time progressed pagers and cell phones merged with our PDAs and we now call ...

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    One thing all of us have in common is the fact that all of our devices will eventually run out of power and need to be charged again. Doing so is a relatively simple process: plug your charging cable into a computer, wall wart, or specialty outlet - then wait. Back in the early days we had relatively small battery capacities and charging our phones didn't take too long. Today we have devices with thousands of mAh capacities that take all night to charge, but typically don't last all day! The solution from Apple and Samsung was to provide some "signaling tricks" which enabled their charges ...

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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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