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.

Contact Joe Levi

  • by |

    Today represents the first working day after Christmas - it's also the first day that we've gotten to take our newly gotten Christmas gifts "into the wild" and show them off to our co-workers. For months Pocketnow has been telling you all about the up-and-coming holiday gifts that the OEMs and retailers have been hoping you'll buy. We've reported on those which we felt were deserving of your dollars and those which were better to be avoided. Now the mad rush is behind us. The wrapping paper has been removed, the packages have been opened, the gadgets have been powered on, and you've had ...

    Share
  • by |

    "If you don't have anything to hide, why do you have curtains on your bedroom window?" - Anonymous Privacy, in these United States, is a fundamental Civil Right. Specifically, the Fourth Amendment enshrines that no unreasonable searches shall be performed without a warrant. This protects individuals from being targeted because of their beliefs, whether those are religious, political, ethnic, cultural, or anything else. As much as we'd like to deny that sort of targeting exists, history shows us that the British used unlawful searches to single out and victimize Colonists based on their ...

    Share
  • by |

    Some of you are too young to remember the early days of computing. Back in the 1980's most of us ran MS-DOS. In this environment your user interface was a black screen with a flashing white cursor (or some other color combination). From there you'd type a command to launch whatever program you wanted to run. That program might have been a word processor, a spreadsheet, an encyclopedia, a game, or some other "app". Not only could you only run one program at a time, you had to exit out of it if you wanted to switch to another one. Yeah, try writing a research paper that way. ...

    Share
  • by |

    Bluetooth was invented and initially marketed with the intent to replace our wires with miniature radios. What's more, the technology was touted as a way to create a "personal area network" of your devices. Unlike a Local Area Network (or "LAN"), a PAN was supposed to connect all of the devices you'd normally use, all without wires getting in the way. This Bluetooth PAN was supposed to help you sync your PDA to your computer, let you beam data back and forth with others, print stuff, talk on the phone just like Uhura from Star Trek, and even surf the web using your fancy cellular phone's ...

    Share
  • by |

    If it runs on software, no matter how careful the developers were, it's got bugs. - Anonymous A coworker of mine once asked me why developers had to even worry about fixing bugs. "Why don't you just write the stuff 'bug-free' in the first place?" It was a genuine question, without even a hint of sarcasm. He followed up with "I mean, the banks never have to worry about fixing bugs in ATMs, right? Why can't we do the same here?" That's when one of the developers on my team snorted his Rockstar energy drink out of his nose. I don't know which was more painful, the coworker who was searching ...

    Share
  • by |

    "Now that microsd cards of 200GB are available, let's make sure our devices don't have slots for them." - Google Despite dropping sdcard slots from its Nexus lineup years ago, Google quietly included a feature in Android Marshmallow 6.0 that makes sdcards infinitely more useful. Most of the time, adding an sdcard simply means you have a bunch of extra room for pictures, videos, and (if you're dedicated enough) a bit more wiggle room into which you can install your apps. The benefits for apps haven't been quite as cool due to some limitations: not all apps support being installed to the ...

    Share
  • by |

    "'OK Google' is the magical key-phrase that unlocks all the wondrous potential of your Android-powered device - and drives you nuts when someone on a podcast says it and all your Android's wake up and wait for your instructions." Now that my new house is built, my daily commute is over an hour long - each way. That's okay with me. I love to drive, the scenery is beautiful, Waze helps alert me to upcoming hazards, and thanks to Audible I'm "reading" more now than I ever have before. When a phone call comes in, thanks to the Bluetooth hands-free functionality built-in to my Prius, all I have ...

    Share
  • by |

    I'm a web developer by day and a tech journalist by night. It's not as glamourous as Batman's gig, but it's still pretty awesome. - Joe Levi, Pocketnow What that means for readers of Pocketnow is that I'm acutely aware of the implications and ramifications of "good" web design over mediocre or (heaven forbid) "bad" web design. Keep in mind that when I talk about "web design" I'm only partly referring to the "graphic design" of any given web page - the way a web page looks. The other components of "web design" fit under the umbrella of "web development", but when talking about how to ...

    Share
  • by |

    Samsung's flagship smartphone carries the "Galaxy" nametag - the current version being the Galaxy S6. Before that it was the Galaxy S5, preceded by the Galaxy S4, and so on. What's next? It should be obvious: the Samsung Galaxy S7. Phones aren't "born" overnight. Market studies, focus groups, endless committee meetings, initial designs, prototypes, tooling, scheduling, and ultimately full-scale production takes a very long time to implement, and is very challenging to orchestrate across suppliers, distributors, and resellers. Samsung initially launched the Galaxy S lineup in June of 2010. ...

    Share
  • by |

    "Welcome to Pocketnow, your one-stop-shop for smartphones, phablets, tablets, and wearables - and Chromebooks? I'm going to have to find some bigger pockets." - Joe Levi, Pocketnow Android has been powering smartphones since 2008 when the T-Mobile G1 was released. Later on, OEMs scaled the phone-centric OS up and crammed it into tablets (Google put the brakes on that until it could release Android Honeycomb, which was specifically designed for tablets - and horrible). Google even rolled out not one, but two flavors of Android for televisions. The only experience missing was the one right ...

    Share
  • by |

    I'm Joe the Android Guy, and I've written over 1,500 articles for Pocketnow. How many of those were written on an Android-powered device? Sadly, only a handful. I would have expected someone with the moniker of "the Android Guy" to use that platform for the majority of the work he does. If you did too, I'm terribly sorry to disappoint you. Android is a great operating system. It scales from phones and phablets, to tablets of virtually any size, and even to media players, in-dash computers for your car, and even wristwatches. What it doesn't do is offer a viable platform for replacing your ...

    Share
  • by |

    Over the years, WiFi has become an integral part of our lives. It saves us from data overages and often provides us with data where cellular signals don't reach. Currently WiFi is fairly limited in its spectrum, utilizing mainly 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Each flavor of WiFi has its own benefits as well as disadvantages, but it's becoming increasingly difficult for WiFi as more devices use the already crowded spectrum. What we need is more spectrum, but that gets into an international quagmire of competing standards and restrictions. What we need is spectrum that's universally unlicensed. That ...

    Share
  • by |

    Back in 1994, Ericsson (who would later merge with Sony) "invented" Bluetooth. Back then out devices were connected by one of a few technologies: RS-232 "COM Ports", Parallel Ports, and SCSI. USB was still being worked on. Ericsson's vision was to replace the serial RS-232 cables with a new, wireless standard. Bluetooth was born. Bluetooth is a wireless communication standard using the 2.4GHz band (which competes with WiFi and other signals) and is sometimes referred to as 802.15.1. In addition to exchanging data over short distances (typically 30- to 300-feet, though the spec allows for ...

    Share
  • by |

    There used to be a time when, if you lost your phone, that was it - it was gone. You'd get in touch with your carrier and report it lost or stolen so any calls or texts wouldn't be added to your bill, but your options beyond that were pretty limited. A little later on, recovery options were added to help you find out where you phone was (just in case you lost in the couch or at the restaurant). If it was heading down the interstate at 70MPH, you could probably assume that it had been stolen - and you could remotely wipe it. While these tools can be very helpful, all a thief needs to do is ...

    Share
  • by |

    If you want to customize the look and feel of your phone or tablet, Android is the platform for you! Since the very early days of the OS, users have been able to replace their launcher - the app that holds the icons, widgets, and wallpaper - with one of their choosing. Back then we started a series called "Launcher Wars" where Brandon Miniman and I would take turns evaluating launchers, sharing our thoughts, and trying to one-up the launcher the other was using. Most of those Android Launchers still exist today, but many are no longer being updated. The Android launcher we're talking ...

    Share
  • by |

    Back in 1999 we got our first real taste of our wireless future: WiFi. The first variant was called 802.11a and operated in the 5GHz spectrum (later on, 3.7GHz support was added). Back then, 5GHz radios were more expensive than 2.4GHz equipment, and 802.11b quickly surpassed 802.11a in popularity. For years we happily surfed the web, streamed our music, and watched our videos over the 2.4GHz spectrum. But we weren't alone. Another technology started competing for the same wireless spectrum with our WiFi: Bluetooth. It promised to bring "personal area networks" to our mobile devices and ...

    Share
  • by |

    Chrome is the web browser at the center of Google's empire - both on desktops as well as mobile devices. In addition to being just a standalone app (which may or may not be preloaded on your smartphone), the Chrome engine also drives the component that displays web content inside apps. As you might expect, a vulnerability in that engine could cause significant problems for the device running it. Such is the case with a particularly troublesome Android Google Chrome exploit. During the recent PacSec conference in Tokyo, Qihoo 360 developer Guang Gong showed off a vulnerability which takes ...

    Share
  • by |

    You wear a watch to help you know what time it is. Some watches tell you the day and date in addition to the time. Some display two time zones. Some have altimeters, barometers, stop watches, countdown timers, and more. Your smartphone likely has all of these features and functionalities as well. So why do you still wear a watch? Convenience, of course. It's easier to glance at the watch on your wrist than it is to fish your phone out of your pocket, turn it on, bypass its security mechanisms, find and launch the corresponding app, and finally see the information you're looking for. The ...

    Share
  • by |

    Android Pay isn't the first time Google has gotten into the mobile payments business. Google demonstrated Google Wallet way back in 2011, and released it in these United States that September. The Google Wallet used NFC and a "secure element" in your smartphone to take advantage of contactless payment terminals which were slated to replace traditional swipe-to-pay card readers. Since then, Apple has gotten into the game with its own product, Apple Pay, and Google has restructured and re-released its service, this time calling it Android Pay. Despite all the technological mumbo jumbo, ...

    Share
  • by |

    Long ago, when Google was a rising star giving "everything" away for free, Apple was busy revolutionizing the mobile industry with the iPhone. Google fought back, not by creating the "Google Phone", but by acquiring the Android operating system, spinning up a consortium of carriers, OEMs, and technology providers, and rolling out a massive initiative that has finally surpassed Apple in number of handsets in use. That strategy, and the momentum behind it, has one flaw that self-professed pundits continue to proclaim: Android fragmentation. Android Fragmentation There are really two types ...

    Share
  • by |

    "It is obvious that this contest cannot be decided by our knowledge of the Force... but by our skills with a lightsaber." –Count Dooku One of the best things Verizon Wireless ever did was acquiring the rights to use the word “DROID” to differentiate its Androids from phones from its competitors, and one of the latest phones to carry the DROID name is the DROID Maxx 2, made by Motorola. In our Verizon Motorola DROID Maxx 2 review, we're taking a close look at this brand new device on Big Red. Motorola made some compromises on this device, but did it keep the DROID Maxx 2 worthy of ...

    Share
  • by |

    People just aren't happy unless there's some kind of controversy running amok. Any sufficiently worthy conspiracy theory, especially those that could be shrouded in an actual or alleged scandal (and especially one that involves a cover-up) is worthy of the -gate suffix. So, here we are, on the verge of another -gate - and not just any -gate, it's #bendgate, part two (or is it part three?). This time around, Google's latest phablet flagship is at the center. Is it true? Is there really a Nexus 6P bending issue? There just may be, but let's look at some history to put it all in perspective. ...

    Share
  • by |

    One of the best things Verizon wireless ever did was acquiring the rights to use the word "Droid" to differentiate its phones powered by the Android operating system from those available from other carriers. Not every Android-powered phone offered by Verizon has carried the Droid moniker. Some of us think this is because the Droid name implies higher-end devices. In the case of the Droid Maxx 2, that's absolutely the case, and from what we've seen, it's worthy of the name. When asked about the naming of the Droid Maxx 2, Rick Osterloh, Motorola's CEO said, it stands for "maxx battery, ...

    Share
  • by |

    Anyone who has ever owned an Android-powered smartphone will probably tell you how frustrating it is to get OTA updates. Whether it's security patches, bug fixes, or the much-coveted OS upgrades (for example: Lollipop to Marshmallow). Since each of these is different, the reasons for delays and the mechanism for getting updates are sometimes different as well. Operating System Upgrades Let's start with the proverbial 800-pound gorilla, shall we? First of all, Android and iOS are substantially different in how each approaches updates. Apple attempts to get every device up to the latest ...

    Share
  • by |

    When other sites review a phone, many simply unbox it and fiddle around with it for a few hours before pulling out the laptop and penning a review. When we review a new smartphone, we try and put several days of actual, real-world use on it. We put it through all the tests and scenarios that we can think of. Even still, sometimes some of the finer details, the intricate settings or features that don’t immediately jump out at us get overlooked or we have to limit what we include in our reviews so they don't balloon to 5,000 words or more. However, some phones are deserving of ...

    Share
Mobile Version