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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    A few of us at Pocketnow have been opponents to using fingerprint scanners as biometric security devices on our phones for quite a while. There are various reasons why fingerprints should be used for identification, but not for passwords. Nonetheless, the industry is sprinting toward using fingerprints as passwords, and now Google has gotten in the game with Nexus Imprint on its latest phones, the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P. Both phones are built by separate OEMs, and each uses different fingerprint scanner hardware. Apple, Samsung, HTC, and others include fingerprint scanners on their ...

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    When talking about phones that carry the Nexus name, we typically consider them to be iterative updates of one another - each building on the success of the one that came before. Google decided to change things up a bit last year by releasing the Nexus 6: a phablet - not a phone. Thankfully, this year Google returned the Nexus to its roots by releasing the Nexus 5X. How does it stack up against the original Nexus 5 from two years back? Let's dive right in! Nexus 5X vs Nexus 5 To begin with, both the original Nexus 5 and the Nexus 5X are remarkably similar in terms of overall dimensions. ...

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    The “Nexus phone” has meant many things to many people since the Nexus One rolled off the assembly line nearly six years ago. With the debut of 2012's Nexus 4, it morphed into a super-affordable smartphone for anyone who didn't want to be tied down by a contract. That was succeeded by 2013's Nexus 5, which brought LTE and a more accessible design to become the first Nexus to be embraced by the masses. In 2014 Google arguably "jumped the shark" with the oversized Nexus 6, a Motorola-made phablet that some considered an abandonment of the fundamental principles behind the ...

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    Android has gone through a few iterations of "shut up and leave me alone" "Do Not Disturb" mode, but hasn't gotten it right - until Android 6.0 Marshmallow. At 2am my wife isn't very supportive of me being "Joe the Android Guy™". That seems to be when my nightstand lights up with alerts from all over the world. My nightstand typically has an Android Wear smartwatch cradled and charging, a Nexus 9 and Nexus 7 tablet, my Nexus 6, and usually at least one other phone or device that I'm evaluating. When an alert comes in from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Skype, Hangouts, Gmail, ...

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    In June of 2012 at Google I/O, Google's developer conference, the company announced an all new product category designed to be conduit between your smartphone or tablet and your media. The product Google used to launch this category was called the "Nexus Q" and was offered for sale for the steep price of US$299. At the time, the orb-shaped device was supposed to let users cast audio to their high-end speaker systems, and could allow people to create their own party soundtrack through its "social, shared experience". The product was eventually given away to those who attended I/O or had ...

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    Just when we thought we had this whole "quick charging" thing all figured out and knew which car- and wall-chargers to get, Google went and confused everyone all over again. Yes, it's true that the new Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X support quick charging, but no, despite both phones being built around Qualcomm Snapdragon SoCs, neither has "Qualcomm Quick Charge" of any variety (1.0, 2.0, or any other version). What they do have is pretty good, if specifications are to be believed (we'll reserve final judgement until after our full reviews), but there is quite a bit of confusion around what kind ...

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    Until recently, Google has only released one Nexus-labeled smartphone per cycle. Last year the popular Nexus 5 was followed-up by the Nexus 6 - Google's first phablet. Some were eager to adopt the new form factor, others weren't too enthusiastic. Although it has has its ups and downs, the Motorola-made Nexus 6 has fared pretty well over its first year of life. This time Google went all-in, releasing not only a successor to last year's Nexus 6 phablet, but also a 5-inch smartphone. We've already talked about the Nexus 6P and the Nexus 5X, and more coverage will follow as soon as we have ...

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    Ask anyone what they would improve about their smartphone and you'll probably come up with two answers very near the top: faster performance, and better battery life. Some argue that their phone or tablet is "faster" than another because of the operating system it runs. Other's swear that the batteries in devices from one manufacturer  outlast those of its competition. A lot of this comes down to comparing apples to oranges. For example, you can't easily compare a quad-core CPU clocked at 2.0 GHz with a hex-core CPU clocked at 1.8 GHz - there are simply too many differences between the ...

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    Recently I've taken a lot of flack for some of the articles I've written. I went on the record about what I felt Google got wrong with this year's Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. I critically evaluated the humble (yet game-changing) beginnings of the Nexus project, and opined that Google has lost its way in recent years. I outlined my case for why I thought Google may have just made the Moto X "obsolete" with the announcement of the Nexus 5X. Ultimately, I announced that, of the two new Nexus phones from Google, I was going with the smaller one. I was wrong From the very beginning I knew that I ...

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    Google bought Android (the operating system and the company behind it) a decade ago (back in 2005). Two years later Google unveiled not only Android, the operating system that powers most of today's smartphones, but also the Open Handset Alliance – a consortium of hardware, software, and telecommunication companies with the goal of advancing open standards for mobile devices. In 2008 Google partnered with T-Mobile and HTC to release the first Android-powered phone - what some of us call "the first Nexus". Later on, Google put together a team to come up with a phone that would serve as a ...

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    Every processor on the planet creates heat. More precisely, computer chips convert electrical energy into thermal energy. Even the most simple circuit has some amount of resistance, and that resistance is manifest in heat. It's the nature of the beast. Electronics don't particularly like heat - in fact, a circuit that runs too hot will eventually burn itself out. That's where the genius of a liquid cooled smartphone comes in to play. First, let's lay some groundwork.y The nanometer push When designing computerized components, the challenge has been to create smaller circuitry that requires ...

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    If you want a new Nexus phone, they're both available for pre-order now. In our neck of the woods, the Nexus 5X should begin shipping in 2-3 weeks (regardless of color or storage combination), and the Nexus 6P should ship 2-3 weeks after that (depending on color and storage selections). Often viewed as the stick against which all other Android-powered phones are measured, the new phones aren't perfect. Here are a few of the new Nexus shortcomings. Payment Hold No, this doesn't have anything to do with the phones themselves, rather, when you go to buy the phones through the Google Store, ...

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    Whether you call it blasphemy or simply Google showing up Apple, using a smartwatch powered by Android Wear on an iPhone just doesn't seem natural or "right", but it's very much possible, though somewhat limited. A fortnight ago I gave up my Nexus 6 for an iPhone running iOS 9 - though only for a week. The experience wasn't nearly as miserable as I thought it would be - Google made sure I had most of the apps I was familiar with on the competing platform. After I set everything up, I strapped on my Moto 360 and came to the discouraged realization that I wouldn't be getting any ...

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    It wasn't all that long ago when people wore a watch everywhere they went. When cell phones started arriving, the necessity of that timepiece on your wrist became less necessary - you'd just pull out your cell phone and check the time. Some flip phones even got fancy and put a small LCD across the top to show you the current date and time, and information about the incoming caller. Modern smartphones did away with this, using their primary display to show you relevant information at a glance. That is, until recently. Now Samsung and LG seem to be leading the charge with "second screens" - ...

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    Today was "Nexus Day" - which is sort of like Christmas for Android nerds (like me). Android 6.0 Marshmallow will be released next week and a boatload of new products are available from the Google Store today - primary among them the new Nexus phones, the LG-made Nexus 5X and the Huawei-made Nexus 6P. Both are pretty much what all the rumors told us they were going to be, but hidden in Google's presentation was the death of Motorola's Moto X. Moto X Google didn't say a single word about the Moto X today, and why would it? Motorola was acquired from Google by Lenovo October 30th, 2014 - ...

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    Let's get this out of the way: this article will probably upset almost everyone. Android fans will feel betrayed that "Joe the Android Guy™" jumped ship and used a "fruit-phone" for an entire week. How dare he?! Apple fans will feel like I'm jaded and can't possibly approach such an endeavour in an unbiased manner. He's an Android guy, he can't be trusted!! I'll try my best to be frank, honest, and unapologetically real, m'kay? Now that we've gotten all that out of the way, and now that iOS 9 is available for you to install on your own iPhone, let's get down to the actual experience, ...

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    Nextbit is a small band of rebels who want to free people from the limits of today's mobile technology, or at least that's how Nextbit describes itself. The device the company is peddling is called "robin", and it promises to be a superphone that lives in the cloud. Let me pause for a moment while you "ooh" and "ahh" over all the buzz words and promises. M'kay, ya done now? Good. Let's move on. Nexbit, at the core, is a crowdsourced phone maker - just like Yotaphone, Fairphone, and others. Yotaphone Yotaphone fell flat on its face, at least here in the United States. Backers who supported ...

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    If all the leaks are to be believed (and we have no reason not to at this point in the game) Google will be offering us two new phones in just a matter of days: the Nexus 6P phablet, and the Nexus 5X smartphone. I'm unapologetically coming from a Nexus 6. Since buying my own Nexus 6 I begrudgingly had to admit that phablets aren't horrible, I've had to apologize to many people for telling them how silly they look "talking into a piece of toast", and I can honestly say that I've loved my experience with my Nexus 6. Unlike many of the phones that I've used while employed with Pocketnow, I ...

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    Google's Project Fi is an awesome experiment. In case you're not sure what it is, Project Fi has the potential to combine all the cellular carriers and WiFi signals under one umbrella - and let your phone pick which one is best, wherever you are. That's a really big deal. Where I work, T-Mobile reigns supreme. Sure, that might be due to the fact that we have a tower on the roof only a few hundred feet away from me, but even still. Everywhere I go around town, I've got great coverage from T-Mobile. That's not the case everywhere though. Where my new house is being built, T-Mobile is most ...

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    You'll be hard-pressed to find someone who would turn down a phone with a bigger battery than a smaller one, all things being equal. Unfortunately, phones with bigger capacities generally mean thicker dimensions and heavier devices. Even a few dozen mAh can add significant costs to the bill of materials. The solutions to this conundrum come in four varieties: OS and SoC optimizations to reduce battery use, and wireless and quick charging schemes to help keep the battery full. Targeting the latter, and following up from a successful 2.0 release, Qualcomm's solution is Quick Charge 3.0. To ...

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    I've worn a smartwatch ever since my LG G Watch arrived (which I've subsequently replaced with a 1st gen Moto 360). Both of these wearables, and wearables in general, have solved a challenging problem that I didn't even know I had. My phone spends a lot of time on my desk, on my nightstand, or on the dash of my car. I don't like to be "one of those guys" that has his notifications turned up so the whole office hears when you've got an email, need to head to a meeting, or are getting a call. Unless my phone is in my pocket, it's unlikely that I'll know when I need to look at my phone. ...

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    When we stop to think about just how much technology has entered into our lives, we've got to pause and give consideration to the technologies that enable the smartphones and tablets that have become such an integral part of our lives. To a certain extent these devices can stand alone (requiring only power to charge them, a cellular signal to feed them data, and a human to operate them). However, without that connection to the web, the utility of our mobile devices is greatly diminished. Now we are sitting on the eve of an evolutionary leap - the Internet of Things is knocking on our ...

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    Android Marshmallow 6.0 is getting close to being released, and we're starting to see what the final version will - and will not - include once it starts being distributed to devices later this month. One of the things that's missing: the Dark theme - and that's a problem. After users started to notice the Dark theme was missing in recent preview builds of Android Marshmallow, the community reached out to Google on an Android Developer Preview forum. The response from a Google representative was disheartening: this feature will not be a part of Marshmallow, but Google will "consider" it ...

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    Today's smartphones and tablets are significantly more useful than phones and laptops of yesteryear. Most of that centers around the availability of today's devices to access the Internet from virtually anywhere. These days we use our phones more to text and interact with web-based services than to make phone calls, and our tablets consume media (streaming audio and video), let us play web connected games, and keep us in touch with our friends via social networks. All of these are enabled by a ubiquitous, wireless connection to the Internet. However, not all wireless connections are the ...

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    I was one of the first people in my area to adopt Google Wallet. Everywhere I did business soon knew me as "the guy who pays with his phone" - so long as they were equipped with a compatible terminal. I helped train cashiers how to use this "newfangled" payment method, and even helped identify when terminals were installed - but not configured - to use NFC payments. Google Wallet I was also one of the folks who was burned by the "Secure element not responding" bug in Google Wallet on the Galaxy Nexus. For those of you who don't know (or have forgotten), back in 2011 Google Wallet was just ...

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