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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    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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    They say variety is the spice of life. It's also one of the driving factors behind innovation. As long as there are a set of standards that are reasonably agreed upon, devices on various carrier networks, built by different OEMs, and even running different operating systems can co-exist in a technological ecosystem that promotes innovation without hurting interoperability. Unfortunately, with only two or three players of any significance in the game, we're left with a false sense of innovation, and technological progress is stifled. Just look at a few recent examples: The Apple Pencil is ...

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    It's a fair bet that the majority of those of you reading these articles use apps - but don't write them. There are no such things as "free" apps. Sure, there are apps that don't cost you any money to download and install, but they're not "free". Somebody had to put quite a bit of time and effort into the hardware and software required to code that app. That person had to obtain some sort of education to obtain the skills, knowledge, and expertise that it takes to code an application. Even if those were already sunk costs (the person already had the hardware and software, and already had ...

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    Earlier today Apple announced a couple new iPhones, some new configurations for the Apple Watch and an updated OS, a really big iPad with 5 kajillion pixels, a dedicated iPad keyboard, and even a stylus pencil. Yeah, all that's neat, but the real news out of Apple's event has to do with Microsoft. Today Microsoft showed off "Office iPad" - but we'll get to that in a moment. This isn't the first Apple event that Microsoft has been featured in... Remember Macword Boston back in 1997? Apple lives in an ecosystem and it needs help from other partners. It needs to help other partners. And ...

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    Samsung does some really cool things, especially when it comes to displays: curved edges, round screens, and even screens that wrap part way around your wrist! That last one was one of the things that attracted me to the Galaxy Gear S - the big, beautiful screen that wrapped around your arm. However, two aspects to the otherwise amazing wearable kept it off my wrist: it ran Tizen when Android Wear was just gaining in popularity and functionality, and you could only pair it to a Samsung phone or phablet. This year's Gear S - the appropriately named Gear S2 - is still powered by Tizen ...

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    Force Touch is the "new" pressure-sensitive user interface technique that was pioneered by Apple with its Apple Watch - or was it? Before we jump into that, let's talk about ways that we can already interact with our smartphones and wearables, and see if we can figure out where Force Touch currently fits in, and where it should fit it. Text Before we had mice to move our cursors around we had scroll-lock and tab. Back then screens were two-colored: green on black, yellow on black, white on blue, or some other high-contrast display - which often led to burn-in on our very expensive ...

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    Back when the only competition was from Palm, I was a Newton guy. Sometime later (and way before the iPhone), Steve Jobs killed the Newton. I sold my MessagePad 2000U and switched to Microsoft's solution. Palm PC was renamed to Palm-sized PC, then to Pocket PC, and ultimately Windows Mobile (and all of them were powered by various versions of Windows CE). Windows Mobile was great, for the time, but Apple was quietly plotting its revenge. Before long the iPod Touch was released. Microsoft should have seen the writing on the wall, but for some reason the iPhone took the Windows camp by ...

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    Now that IFA is in full-swing and much of the Pocketnow staff is in Berlin busy finding out what the latest and greatest new devices are going to be for the upcoming year, some of us aren't that optimistic that the new products will be "great". Sure, many of the devices on the show floor might "look" cool and enticing today, but that might just be the bright lights and the fancy booth decorations speaking. Some of those devices will turn out to be disappointing. That got us thinking: what's the most disappointing smartphone you've owned? Adam Lein Adam Lein was the first to chime in. Of ...

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    What do you do when you want to build a phone that has the perfect blend of price, design, and specs? If you're HTC, you create a Desire phone. We've been fairly pleased with how well the HTC Desire lineup has been performing recently and we've even gone as far as calling them "a mid-tier phone with flagship DNA" and "a phone with a midrange name and flagship performance". Does the HTC Desire 626 live up to the expectations set by its predecessors? Let's dive right into the HTC Desire 626 review! Video · Specs/Hardware · Software · Cameras · Performance ...

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    The day that they said would never come is finally here - well, sort of: Android Wear now works on iPhones! I know, I never thought I'd see the day, but here we are. Naysayers and critics will be quick to point out that only one wearable is officially supported, the LG Watch Urbane (for now). Not long after the announcement, however, we learned that the Moto 360 works just fine connected to an iPhone - but only if it runs Android Wear 1.3 (which doesn't come on the watch out of the box). That fun little tidbit gives us the impression that any smartwatch powered by Android Wear and running ...

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    Most phones these days have at least one camera - or more. The one that faces you is referred to as the "selfie-camera", and the other is usually called the "main camera". The one on the back is usually pretty high-end: several megapixels, image stabilization, LED flash, and oodles of more features. The one of the front usually is lower-end: fewer megapixels, no image stabilization, and an LED flash is all but non-existent. Part of the reason for all this is space - camera modules are fairly bulky and take up quite a bit of space inside a phone. The other reason? Cost. Cameras are fairly ...

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