Posts by Brandon Miniman

Brandon is a graduate from the Villanova School of Business, located near Philadelphia, PA. He's been a technology writer since 2002, and, in 2005, became Editor-in-Chief of Pocketnow, a then Windows Mobile-focused website. He has since helped to transition Pocketnow into a top-tier smartphone and tablet publication. He's so obsessed with technology that he once entered a candle store and asked if they had a "new electronics" scent. They didn't.

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    If you're one of the many who own a Galaxy S III, you're likely to receive an over-the-air update to Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean in the very near future. We've already shown you what Jelly Bean looks like on the Galaxy S III through unnofficial means, and now we're going to show you what the official TouchWiz-ified Jelly Bean ROM looks like on the Galaxy S III in this video. We also compare TouchWiz Jelly Bean with TouchWiz Ice Cream Sandwich to help you understand exactly what changes are coming. Interestingly, while Jelly Bean adds several new features to the operating system (like Google ...

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    Today Motorola announced a rejuvenation of their latest premium brand, Droid RAZR. It was about one year ago that the company announced the reincarnation of the once-ubiquitous RAZR brand with the original Droid RAZR. It was a bit of an experiment, as the smartphone-buying population has changed from the featurephone-buying population of ten years ago. But luck was on their side, and today, the Droid RAZR and RAZR MAXX are two of the hottest selling smartphones in the world of Android. And for good reason: they have great hardware, great battery life, and "thinner-than-the-other-guy" ...

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    Today Motorola will announce two new phones, neither of which will feature an edge-to-edge display as was previously rumored. An image leaked by @evleaks shows the RAZR HD (on right), looking very similar to the Atrix HD which hit AT&T recently. Like the Atrix HD, we expect the RAZR HD to feature a 720p 4.5" ColorBoost display, powered by a dual-core Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz CPU and 1GB of RAM, all on top of Android 4.0. Like the original RAZR, the RAZR HD will feature Verizon LTE connectivity, plus a super-thin profile. The RAZR M is expected to be a refreshed version of the original ...

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    The Sony VAIO Tap 20 is an unusual Windows 8 tablet. The massive 20" screen (at a mere qHD 960x540 resolution) is designed for family interaction in scenarios where you'd place the device on a coffee table and play a game, thanks to 10-point multi-touch input. The Tap 20 has a unique stand on the back that lets the tablet rest at various degrees. The device we played with was a prototype, as Sony expects to reduce the weight and thickness of the device (and hopefully bump the screen resolution) in time for it shipping later this year. When it ships, Sony expects to offer it in Core i3, i5, ...

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    After giving you some commentary on what we thought about the Galaxy Note II as far as its place in the mobile landscape, we wanted to give you a more in-depth tour of Samsung's updated phablet. The Galaxy Note II has a larger screen than the original Note by 0.2", but because of a 16:9 aspect ratio, the device is less wide but taller; it's also slightly thinner, which is unexpected given the 20% increase in battery capacity. The Note II has a quad-core 1.6GHz Exynos CPU with 2GB of RAM. It'll be launching later this year across multiple carriers with either 3G or 4G LTE.  

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    Nokia is expected to announce new Windows Phone 8 Lumia devices at the upcoming Nokia World conference just next week. It appears that two of their upcoming handsets, the Lumia 820 and the Lumia 920 with PureView, have been leaked in advanced. Both feature the new Windows Phone 8 logo and familiar Nokia designs if you consider the current Lumia 800 and 900 devices that are on the market. The 820 is pinned as a 4.3" slab, to be made available in a variety of colors. The 920 is the more interesting device, which bumps the screen size to 4.5" and apparently adds Nokia's PureView camera ...

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    The Sony VAIO Duo 11 is a Windows 8 ultrabook hybrid that has a sliding display that reveals a full hardware keyboard. It'll be available with a variety of hardware configurations such as an Intel i7, i5, or i3, with the former two configurations providing less battery power. The device, despite having a spacious 11.6" 1366x768 touchscreen, weighs just 2.6lbs, which is a hair more than the Microsoft Sufrace. The hybrid features USB 3.0 and HDMI outputs. No word on pricing, but look for a Q4 release.  

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    Sony's newest Android tablet, the Xperia Tablet S, is running on Android 4.0.4 for now, but will be upgraded to Jelly Bean in the near future. In terms of design, it has a similar "wrap around" design to last-year's Tablet S that some found to be a nice break from the slate form factor of all other tablets on the market. The Xperia S has a Tegra 3 quad-core CPU running at 1.4GHz. The display is 9.4" and 1280x800 resolution. On the rear there is an 8MP shooter, and a 1MP camera on the front. Other goodies include HDMI and DLNA support, an SD card slot (yes, full SD), guest mode to protect ...

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    The Galaxy Note has been an unlikely success. What was once chastised for being an oversized phone or an undersized tablet has defined a whole new category of devices. The sales figures tell the story: with 10 million units sold so far, there's clearly a big market for a device with such a large display. But the original Note was a bit flawed. While it was a powerful device with great hardware, the software had tremendous shortcomings. The S-Pen integration with the phablet wasn't exactly natural, accurate, or useful. Even if you were willing to stay within the confines of homescreen ...

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    Today at IFA Samsung will launch its new ATIV brand of Windows 8-powered devices (that's "vita" backwards, which is Latin for "life"). Running on Windows RT, the ATIV Tab will feature a 10.1" 1366x768 display in a form factor that is just 8.9mm thick. It'll be powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core CPU with 2GB of RAM and either 32 or 64GB of storage. It'll offer WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS. It will feature Office Home and Student 2013 RT, featuring the touch-friendly versions of the 2013 suite of Microsoft Office programs. The battery is pegged at 8,200mAh. Interestingly, like the Galaxy Note 10.1, ...

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    Thanks to a tipster, we've been handed the official press release for the Galaxy Note II, which is expected to be announced at IFA 2012 in just a few hours. The display of the Galaxy Note II will be 5.5" and 1280x720 resolution (granting it a true 16:9 aspect ratio, but with lesser resolution than the original Galaxy Note which had 1280x800 pixels). Like the original Note, the display will be an HD Super AMOLED panel. The device will feature a 1.6GHz quad-core CPU (the type is not specified, but we'll put our money on the Exynos) with 2GB of RAM and an 8MP camera on the rear and a 1.9MP ...

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    Recently LG announced its latest flagship phone, the Optimus G, which impressively packs Qualcomm's quad-core S4 chip running at 1.5GHz. Not forgetting the budget-minded buyer, they've also announced the L9: a dual-core 1GHz phone with a 4.7" IPS display (no word on display resolution just yet), 1GB of RAM, and handsome symmetrical design with an elongated home button. Reminding us that it's a budget device, the L9 can take photos at just 5MP. It'll ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and will include new software to allow the user to customize the on-screen keyboard to optimize ...

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    Unless you've got a Nexus device, you're unlikely to have received a quick-and-easy OTA update to Google's latest version of Android. But if you're among the brave, you've rooted your phone and have installed a third-party ROM onto your device (perhaps via the resources at XDA), and are now enjoying the huge bump in performance and system fluidity provided by Jelly Bean (so far we've shown you Jelly Bean on the Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note, HTC One X, Galaxy Nexus, and Galaxy S II). So we're curious: if you've taken the plunge, what do you think of Jelly Bean? Is it a huge improvement, or ...

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    We're starting to see a trend where smartphone OEMs are releasing their flagships earlier in the year and offering a higher-end version in time for the holiday season to compete with what might have come out in the interim months (ahem, Galaxy S III). HTC is doing it with the One X (and rumors of a One X+ for T-Mobile), and now, thanks to an official product page on Sony's website, we can confirm that Sony is doing likewise with the Xperia SL. The SL offers a CPU bump from what we saw with the relatively impressive Xperia S (we loved the 342ppi display) by offering a Qualcomm S3 MSM8260 ...

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    Over the last couple of years, in an attempt to (dare we say) capitalize on the success on the phoneless iPod Touch, Samsung has been selling the Galaxy Player, which is essentially a Galaxy S smartphone but without a cellular radio. The 5.0" and 3.6" versions are currently on sale at Best Buy and other retails for around $220 and $150 respectively, and there are a couple of in-between models available. The current generation of Galaxy Players are relatively low spec'ed: no dual core processors or high resolution displays, and they all run on Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Alas, it seems that ...

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    Android's built-in email app is quite nice (especially if you're running it without the clutter of TouchWiz, etc). It has a great unified view so that you can see all of your email accounts in one screen. Trouble is that Android has a strange behavior where sometimes it'll show you the unified view, but other times it will show you the view of one particular account. There's a workaround that will force the email app to show you a unified inbox when you enter the app, and it's very simple: instead of dropping the email app from your app tray onto your home screen, use the email account ...

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    If you own or have ever used an Android tablet, you know that the same app will run differently on the tablet than it will on the phone. This is because each app has its own DPI setting that dictates the app's behavior. In a lot of cases, tablet apps are better: they often present split-screened views, more controls, and more customization potential. What if you could run tablet apps on your phone? Better yet, what if you could selectively choose which apps run in tablet mode, and which apps in phone mode? Then you could have your email be shown in a super-productive split-column view, ...

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    There has been a bit of a shift in our consumption of content over the past few years: today, more than ever, people are streaming content rather than downloading it. Whether via Netflix, Pandora, Spotify, Hulu, or the many other streaming services, consumers no longer have to rely on big data capacities on their phone or tablets, nor do they have to pay for all of the content they consume one-by-one. Thanks to near-ubiquitous high speed cellular data, as long as you have a reliable and fast connection, the new Coldplay album or the latest episode of Lost is just a stream away. Since ...

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    We've been tipped to what appears to be a legitimate memo from a Microsoft hardware partner that specifies a specific launch date of the Windows Phone 8 platform. Previous rumors have specified an RTM of the software to occur in September, with the release of devices to happen in November of this year in time for the holidays. Further whispers have indicated perhaps an early launch of certain HTC Windows Phone 8 devices to materialize in September. And of course, we're expecting to see Nokia devices running Microsoft's updated platform at Nokia World next month. The memo that we've ...

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    Over the years, Pocketnow has evolved several times to fit your needs. We began as a Windows Mobile resource and then evolved to cover all smartphone platforms. This year, we began covering tablets of the Android and iOS variety with the launch of Pocketnow 5.0. Now, with the upcoming release of Windows 8 and a subsequent wave of new and interesting devices, you might be wondering whether we'll be covering them, since Windows, historically, has been mainly a laptop and desktop operating system. With Windows 8, Microsoft has created somewhat of a hybrid operating system: it has a new ...

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    Remember the Chameleon Launcher project that appeared on Kickstarter not too long ago? Well, it's starting to ship in beta form for those that have backed the project. The launcher is now available in Google Play, and backers will get an email with instructions on how to unlock Chameleon. The main idea behind Chameleon is that you'll use a different home screen for different scenerios. You'll have a homescreen for the morning, a homescreen for work, and a homescreen for the evening. What's more, the widgets for Chameleon all have a consistent look and feel, so you never get a cluttered ...

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    By now we have a firm understanding of what the three top smartphone platform purveyors will bring to the table for late 2012 and into 2013. Each new operating system, whether Windows Phone 8, Android 4.1, or iOS 6, brings forth new features and functionality that aims to improve the end-user experience. Ultimately, while the companies behind each of these platforms do indeed (very much) care about deriving revenue and carving out market share, it is the end-user that decides whether a platform succeeds or fails. So then, with three major updates to three major operating systems, which ...

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    After having looked at early Jelly Bean builds of CyanogenMod on the One X, Galaxy S III, and Galaxy Note, we wanted to take a look at how Jelly Bean feels on older devices, such as the Galaxy S II. The Galaxy S II has been one of our favorite phones: it's light, thin, and super fast. It also has great battery life and an overall great in-hand feel. Samsung plans to release Jelly Bean for the Galaxy S II at some point, but why wait? If your phone is rooted and running a custom bootloader, you can flash a preview of CyanogenMod 10 to your Galaxy S II today. As you can see in this video, all ...

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    Jelly Bean is increasingly becoming available for a wide range of Android phones. First we showed you the Galaxy S III, then the One X, and now the Galaxy Note with this early build of Android 4.1 via a preview of CyanogenMod 10. So far, we've found the CM10 previews to be exceptionally stable and (most importantly) fast. How about the Galaxy Note? Well, that might be the exception. While the CM10 preview works in terms of functionality, there are some performance issues that keep it from being as incredibly smooth as the other two aforementioned devices. There seems to be some lag when ...

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    At last, a preview of the Jelly Bean-based CyanogenMod 10 has been released for the HTC One X! This indeed fixes our number one problem with the One X cited in the review: lag. On the One X with stock software with Sense 4.0, we found lack around every corner, which was surprising for such a high-end phone. Jelly Bean on the One X is super duper fast, whether browsing the web, opening folders, or moving between apps. In fact, we'd say that it's a pinch faster than the already-fast CyanogenMod 10 port to the Galaxy S III we recently showed you. That said, installing CM 10 on your One X is ...

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