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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    Whether you use a tablet, phablet, or phone, and regardless of what OS powers it or which brand is stamped on its backside, we all have one thing in common: our devices all have batteries that always need recharging. Power bricks come in all shapes and sizes. Some may feature a quick-charging standard, others may be the run-of-the mill chargers that simply get the job done. Regardless, they all require a power outlet - and there never seems to be one of those around when we need it. What we need is a compact, portable, charging station that we can take anywhere, uses power from the ...

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    What is Microsoft Continuum? Just in case you haven't heard of it before, Continuum is Microsoft's solution to let you use your smartphone as a desktop computer - wirelessly. There are times when a phone just doesn't cut it. It's too small or too limited, and the task simply requires that you pull out your tablet or laptop, or sit down at your desktop PC. I write all my articles on a computer running Microsoft Windows. I use a wireless keyboard and mouse (both ergonomic, because that's how I roll) and a 27-inch monitor. This set up lets me have plenty of room to see what I'm writing, and ...

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    We all know that higher numbers are better than lower ones, right? But does that same logic apply when we're talking about two high-end mobile processors? The root of the questions falls squarely on LG, and its decision to put the Snapdragon 808 (instead of the 810) inside the flagship LG G4. The LG G Flex 2 uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 SoC, but LG selected the Snapdragon 808 for use in the G4. Some have hypothesized that this decision was made due to what some are characterizing as "overheating" and "aggressive throttling" in the 810. According to a source, the decision to utilize ...

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    "The affordable, high-end smartphone is no longer a pipe dream." Those are the words Taylor Martin used to describe the OnePlus One - and he was right. OnePlus seemed to emerge from the shadows, a Chinese manufacturer who apparently wanted to undercut everyone else, especially OEMs who create expensive flagships that come with too many compromises. Now the OnePlus Two is on the horizon. Rumors are spreading rapidly, and we have to stop and ask ourselves, what does OnePlus need to do right with  the OnePlus 2? The OnePlus One wasn't a small phone. It's 5.5-inch screen filled out even the ...

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    HTC is releasing a new phone called the Butterfly 3 which should launch in Asia soon. Looking at its expected list of features, which is quite impressive, we're all scratching our heads wondering why HTC's current flagship, the One M9, is so "ordinary" compared to the Butterfly 3. The HTC One M9 has a 5.0-inch, 1080P display. The Butterfly 3 is likely going to bump that spec to 5.1- or 5.2-inches, but all rumors are pointing to a quad HD display rather than "standard" HD,  just like on the One M9 Plus. That's not to say the Butterfly 3 is the One M9 Plus - despite some important ...

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    Let's lay some groundwork before we jump in. There are more smartphones powered by Android in the world today than there are powered by iOS. Google beat Apple to the game by releasing Android Wear an entire season before the Apple Watch hit the market. Watches powered by Android Wear come in numerous shapes and sizes - including round. Apple Watch hit the shelves, and immediately eclipsed Android Wear - or so the headlines would like you to believe. The Apple Watch has a whole bunch of features that Android Wear doesn't have, and it's got a lot of people declaring victory. Hold 'yer ...

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    It wasn't that long ago that almost every mobile operating system (and variant thereof) was heavily stylized after tangible items that we come across every day. Notepads apps looked like legal pads, volume controls looked like dials and knobs, toggle buttons looked like switches, and so on. Pushing beyond just tangible "things", many OEMs incorporated skeuomorphic hints in their textures and backgrounds. Patterns modeled after stitching, denim, paper, and even fine leather could be found in our UIs. Skeuomorphism One of the main arguments for skeuomorphic design is the relative ease for ...

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    When I was a baby I had a blanket that my mother always covered me with when I slept. I ran my fingers over one corner until it was literally threadbare. Call it OCD or a sensory disorder, that habit apparently stuck with me. When my daily driver was a Nexus 4, with it's gently curved sides, I often found myself sweeping my thumb from side to side across the screen. Thankfully the Gorilla Glass 2 was harder than my baby blanket and didn't show a wear-mark from that habit. Most OEMs never adopted anything more than very slightly curved edges. Now, however, Samsung has brought back ...

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    Over the years since smartphones became a "thing", specifications have been on a continual march upward. Processors have gotten faster (from megahertz in the hundreds to gigahertz in the plural), they've also added cores (with quad- and even octa-cores being commonplace). RAM has increased from a few dozen MB to a few GB. Storage has increased. Data speeds are through the roof! One area that hasn't seen much improvement over the years is battery capacity. Though battery capacities may still be lagging, OEMs are doing the next best thing: decreasing our charge times. I'm Joe Levi with ...

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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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