Posts by Adam Doud

Adam joined the tech world after watching Jon Rubenstein demo the most epic phone ever at CES 2009. He is webOS enthusiast, Windows Phone fan, and Android skeptic. He loves the outdoors, is an avid Geocacher, Cubs/Blackhawks fan, and family man living in Sweet Home Chicago, where he STILL hosts monthly webOS meetups (Don’t call it a comeback!). He can be found tweeting all things tech as @DeadTechnology, or chi-town sports at @oneminutecubs. Read more about Adam Doud!

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    Talking to my phone is probably one of my favorite things to do with it. Asking my phone's voice assistant to perform tasks such as giving me the weather, texting my wife, or looking up information is pretty cool, and so much more convenient than doing it “the old fashioned way.” What I mean is, launching an app from the app drawer, or typing I-L-L-B-E-H-O-M-E-I-N-2-0-M-I-N-U-T-E-S. People do crazy stuff on phones these days, and talking makes everything so much easier. So why don’t more people talk to their phones? I’ve asked that question and decided to delve. Childlike wonder ...

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    Galaxies keep getting bigger while the Notes stay the same. Samsung basically has two flagships – the Galaxy S and the Galaxy Note. But recently with the emergence of the Galaxy S7 Edge, worlds started to collide a little bit. But, to be fair, this is only after Samsung decided to muddy the waters a bit. Samsung took its successful Edge phone to the phablet stage with the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, and released it along side its main phablet offering – the Galaxy Note 5. Then, this past spring, the Galaxy S7 Edge came out and it wasn’t too far away from the Galaxy S6 Edge plus in size or ...

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    Yesterday, we talked about specifications and how, at least in the current three flagships that are on the market, specifications really don’t matter any more. Today, we’re going to talk about price, and what comes along with that price tag you pay for the top tier phones of today. We decided to look back over the last 366 days and see what phones had been released and what their prices were. Then we looked at what each had to offer for that price you paid. Our recent review of the iPhone SE left us in a bit of a tizzy – what is this phone, anyway? Is it a flagship? Is it a ...

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    Every year, OEMs put out newer and better phones. Of course they do. What’s the point of a new generation if it’s not better than the last, right? But some OEMs, notably Apple, have taken to using more vague descriptors of their smartphone components. They say things like “all day battery life” or Apple’s famous “retina display”. The problem with descriptions like this is they are either highly subjective, or they don’t really mean anything from a specification standpoint. But here’s the thing. We are fast entering a world where most flagships are going to have basically ...

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    There has been an explosion in VR and AR headsets over the past few years. There was a time we talked about Oculus and not a whole lot else. Then at CES, I saw an entire section of the show floor dedicated to VR. Everyone and their mother was coming out with new VR, or developing for VR. Later, Samsung had a press conference that was dependent on VR. LG has a VR headset. The HTC Vive is out and shipping. VR is everywhere, from $30 Google Cardboard to $3000 Hololens headsets. Despite all of this one player – one notable player- has been absolutely silent in this category – Apple. It’s ...

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    A couple of years ago, Google and Apple both unveiled their latest mobile operating systems. No, I don’t mean mobile as in phones, I mean mobile as in cars. Since then, there has been a steady increase in adoption by auto manufacturers who are bringing this tech to the road. Last year, only a few car manufacturers were able to bring Android Auto and/or Apple CarPlay to their vehicles. This year, the list is much longer, and so it will go until not having a connected vehicle will be the exception rather than the rule. Connected vehicles are coming, do not doubt. This is both a blessing ...

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    One of the least talked about things on a smartphone is its audio output. Don't get me wrong, people do talk about it. But compared to camera, battery life, and other considerations, audio output is one of those "nice-to-haves" rather than a necessity. Sure, we love our front-firing speakers, but at the same time, we'll happily accept a rear or bottom firing speaker if the rest of the hardware is up to snuff. We might ding it in the review with a sentence or two, but that's about the extent of it. OEMs have started to push superior audio in some of their smartphones. Deals with companies ...

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    Apple just got done introducing its latest iPhone, the iPhone SE and since we can’t let the rumor mill go silent for even a minute, let’s talk about the iPhone 7, shall we? More specifically, a lot of rumors have been pointing at the possibility of the iPhone 7 having an edge-to-edge bezel-less display. Of course, the actual definition of “bezel-less” is a little on the fuzzy side. Some have said that the bezel-less iPhone will have a curved glass display that will fall off on the edges, not dissimilar to the Galaxy S7 Edge. The primary difference is that the iPhone would not have ...

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    One of the biggest problems in mobile technology today is the battery life of our phones. A much as our technology has increased, idyllic battery life remains an elusive unicorn. Most phones set the bar at 16 hours, which is one day, minus sleep time during which you can charge. But really, isn’t that just an awful goal? If that were the minimum standard for battery, ok, I’ll grant you that. But setting the bar for “good” battery life at a single day should never be the rule. Of course there are phones that boast much more than that. I’ve recently been testing the Blu Energy X ...

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    Now that Build 2016 has come and gone, it’s time for us to think about where Microsoft is in terms of the stuff we care about – mobile. Specifically, Windows 10 Mobile and the smartphones on which it runs. Granted, Build is a developer’s conference; it’s not a consumer show. There was a lot of code talk that made my eyes glaze right over, but Build isn’t for me. It’s for developers, and that’s exactly the most important point to keep in mind. Because, aside from holding some hardware in their hands, the speakers at Build 2016's keynote didn’t really acknowledge Windows 10 ...

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    There’s an old saying that goes, “it’s only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.” And if that was going to be the crux of my argument, this article would already be over. But the fact remains that you and I have a pretty expensive hobby in smartphones and especially flagships. So, if it’s only worth what someone will pay, then we’re clearly all willing to pay quite a bit. But then these tear-downs come out and we find out just how much it actually costs to build these phones from a physical component perspective. Often the cost is 1/3 of the retail price of these units, ...

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    Regardless of how much technology has advanced, nothing is as comfortable and familiar an input device as the pen and paper. It’s something we’ve been doing since we were kids and it feels so natural, it has never been adequately replaced. Microsoft, Apple, and a virtual cornucopia of other stylus manufacturers have tried to replicate this experience on mobile devices for years. Some have come close, but haven’t crossed that last hurdle. And yet, there remains a strong demand for the ability to write things down but still have them stored digitally for later review. This is the gap ...

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    Last week, an item came across our news desk which started the little hamster in my brain a-runnin’. Congresswoman Jackie Speier wants to close the “burner phone loophole” and require cheap, prepaid phones to be registered at the point of sale, which is sure to upset Hollywood scriptwriters throughout the entire city. Essentially, these low-cost, pre-paid cell phones would no longer be anonymous devices to be thrown casually into the trash after mocking local law enforcement. Rather they’d be a CSI: Cyber dream come true as they would all have a name, and presumably Social ...

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    If you’re a Windows 10 Mobile fan, you may have received a bit of a shock last week when Microsoft announced the first wave of devices that would be officially getting their Windows 10 Mobile update. Actually, that wasn’t the shocking part. The shocking part was that there wasn’t going to be a second wave. That’s right Microsoft fans, what you see is what you get. There were some notable exceptions left off this list, including the Lumia 1020, the Lumia 920, and the Lumia 930. Interestingly enough, the Lumia Icon, which is basically the Lumia 930 in a bright red Verizon candy shell ...

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    Funny thing about being at the top. There’s a lot of different ways you can fall. In the business world it’s even more harrowing because if you are at the top of your game, and you don’t get better, you are considered to be failing. Imagine if you are doing anything better than anyone else in the world, and then one day, someone complains that you haven’t gotten any better and everyone suddenly hates you. That’s a rough gig, no matter who you are. Samsung’s case isn’t exactly like that. It has been sliding for a couple of years now.  And by “sliding” I mean “making ...

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    If you’re like me, you got some great and not-entirely unexpected news at MWC – The Edge is here to stay. Samsung unveiled its fourth generation of edge-bearing phone. This is definitely becoming a thing. We’ve written in the past that the edge of the Edge might not be worth the additional cost, but it has been around this long. It seems like Samsung is making it a thing. So now we ask the next logical question – now what? Software First, we are starting to see a lot of software capability for the Edge screen. The original Note Edge had an ecosystem of apps and toolbars dedicated ...

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    Samsung returned to a fine tradition of water proofing/resisting with its latest flagship phones. Both the Galaxy S7 and the S7 Edge carry a slightly improved IP68 rating than the Samsung Galaxy S5’s IP 67 rating and the Galaxy S6’s IPGotNothin’ rating. So Samsung dropped water resistance and then returned, presumably due to consumer demand, new technology, or both. Now that I can go geocaching with my brand new Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (you know, when I get one), I started to wonder about another Galaxy sibling – the Active. Now that the Galaxy S7 has a bigger battery and water ...

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    In some industries, presentation is everything. 1MORE gets that. We had the opportunity to review four sets of headphones from 1MORE over the last four weeks. From the time we held the boxes to the time we removed the headphones from our ears, we have been thoroughly impressed by the end-to-end experience. 1MORE has encapsulated quality in all aspects of the experience. Even the unboxing is special in its own way, which is why we’re going to talk about even that. Wow, right off the bat One of the first things we thought when merely opening the packaging of these headphones was “wow.” ...

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    As images begin to surface of what the next iPhone will possibly look like, the most surprising thing is that not much has really changed (not even "everything"). Renders of the iPhone 7 look a lot like the iPhone 6 and 6S that are out now. Sure the antenna lines (which honestly never bothered me) are being relocated, and the camera cutout looks a scooch bigger, but for the most part, these renders and leaks are making the iPhone 7 look like an iPhone 6Ssquared. But here’s the thing; that’s totally OK. Breaking the cycle Tradition in the iPhone world calls for a complete redesign every ...

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    Later this year, HTC will release its next flagship, the HTC 10. The rumors surrounding this phone make it seem very intriguing, but one thing we haven’t been able to pin down is whether or not HTC will release a Windows 10 Mobile variant of its flagship. There is precedent for such a move, but there are reasons to not go that route as well. Sounds like a debate to me! Let’s dive in, shall we? Less than ideal One the one hand, Windows 10 Mobile is not in very good shape these days. Microsoft seems to be focusing more on the software and services side of its business model and Windows ...

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    If you live in the northern hemisphere, it’s still pretty cold in March, unless you live in Chicago where the weather is crazy as a gerbil on a mocha latte. Still, we’re not putting the winter gear away just yet as Mother Winter can easily come back for an encore or three. And if she does, we’ll be ready to keep warm and keep up with our favorite podcast, the Pocketnow Weekly, just as we have been for the past three weeks. The Blu-toque by Caseco has been keeping our head warm through the harshest Chicago temperatures of late. The Blu-toque is a cleverly named winter accessory which ...

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    This May, a new version of Android will be introduced at Google I/O. Android N will bring with it a bevy of new features, which is all fine and good, but what will its name be? Now there’s some juicy gossip and speculation for you. I mean, Now on Tap is nice and all, but how about that Marshmallow? Isn’t that some catchy stuff? Really puts the sexy into it, ya know? So, knowing Android N has a lot to live up to – who doesn’t like marshmallows after all – we really need to put some thought into what this name is going to be. After all, it will single-handedly determine what ...

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    This year, at MWC, LG introduced us all to the LG G5. This Android flagship has a lot of bells and whistles, including some bells and whistles you can buy separately. With a removable battery, extra “friends”, and specifications to make a tech nerd dream, LG left nothing out. Well, actually it left one thing a little out – the app drawer. LG’s newest flagship does not in fact come with an app drawer out of the box. You can optionally kinda-sorta reenable the app drawer, but it’s not there by default. Rather, new apps get dumped onto the home screen along with all of your other ...

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    HTC changed course a little bit this year. In the past, when other OEMs announced their flagship phones at MWC, HTC was right there along side of them announcing its own flagship. This year, it went a different direction. When the world was introduced to the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, and the LG G5, with an honorable mention going to the Sony Xperia Performance, there was no HTC flagship to be seen, opting instead for a later announcement at its own venue several weeks from now, possibly April 11. Instead, HTC did unveil a few midrange smartphones in its Desire collection. Nice, but ...

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    Sony is taking an interesting and controversial path lately. Recently, Sony announced that the Xperia Z line of smartphones had reached its end. The King is dead; long live the King. The new king in this scenario is the Sony Xperia X line of phones, or more specifically the Sony Xperia X Performance. But there’s a little mixed messaging here because Sony is putting forth the Xperia X Performance as a “super premium mid-ranger” as opposed to a flagship. Some of the specifications, most notably the quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor and cameras, seem to scream flagship, but the Full ...

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